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California governor to sign into law pro-Sikh legislations

September 08, 2012 11:30 IST
California Governor Edmund G Brown will sign into law the two legislations protecting the rights of the Sikhs in the state and including information about the religion in high school curriculum.

Brown will give remarks and sign AB 1964 (Yamada) and SB 1540 (Hancock) at the North American Punjabi Association's peace and unity rally on Saturday held to celebrate religious coexistence and recognise the victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.

"It is big news for us," Satnam Singh Chahal, president of NAPA, a non-profit organisation based in California told "Hard work brings positive result."

Dalwinder Singh Dhoot, chairman, NAPA said the rally is in the memory of the shootout at Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin on August 5 that killed six people and injured others along with the police officer Lt. Brian Murphy.

"We are not just calling Sikh, but people from all religious communities. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, all will be participating," said Dhoot. "At the end of the day we all are citizen here and all are Indians."

He said that about 2000 people are expected on Saturday.

The two bills -- AB 1964 will give the workplace religious freedom to employees in California and SB 1540 (Hancock)
is for inclusion of Sikh information in the school curriculum that has passed the CA senate and sitting at the governor's desk for signature.

"The bill AB 1964 if signed into law would truly be historic," said Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy (Washington, DC) at The Sikh. "It would be the strongest law anywhere in the United States. It will be stronger than the federal law and people or workers in California specially will enjoy the strongest protection against discrimination at work place," he added.

In the previous interview in September, Rubeena Singh, treasurer at Brown's office though did not confirm about the governor signing the bills, but had told, "There is a possibility that governor might make announcement."

Dhoot sharing his conversation with the governor on the SB 1540 (Hancock), said he has spoken to Brown about SB 1540 seven months ago. "The California school curriculum carries information about all religion but we are not part of it. We are the fifth-largest religion in the world."

He said these people do not know about Sikh. "So he promised me seven months ago, we will do something about this," said Dhoot.
Ritu Jha in California