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Sikhs in row with Montreal Port Authority over turbans

March 10, 2006 17:07 IST

After clinching a court victory last week, which overturned a ban on Sikh children wearing ceremonial daggers, Quebec Sikh truck drivers are now in dispute with the Montreal Port Authority over donning hats.

Local Sikhs are angry over a new law requiring all truck drivers at the Port to wear hard hats; they say this goes against their faith, which forbids them to remove their turbans, a media report said.

"Indian Sikhs have served the Royal British Army in World War I and II and they didnt wear helmets at that time. They didn't need extra protection from the bullet," Prithvi Saluja, a Quebec Sikh said.

France Poulin of the Montreal Port Authority, however, was quoted as saying the rule does not amount to discrimination, as the managers are following the Canadian labour code.

"Working on a terminal without a helmet can pose a risk of head injuries," Poulin said, referring to a risk analysis conducted by terminal operators in Montreal.

The Sikhs say they have complained to Quebec's human rights tribunal.

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