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S.G.P.C. to Build 100 Khalsa Schools That Ban Haircuts


P.T.I., New Delhi, Dec. 5, 2005

Photo: Sukhbir Singh Badal

Alarmed at the vanishing Sikh cultural identity in Punjab, the S.G.P.C. has decided to build 100 Khalsa schools across the state strictly forbidding Sikh haircuts for Sikh pupils.

'This is a serious cultural issue and we believe it has to be dealt with right from the school level. The S.G.P.C. will be building these Khalsa schools where haircuts among Sikh pupils will mean expulsion,' Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal said.

Badal, whose party controls the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, said the cost of the one-year project would be around Rs. 300 crore [$60 million].

Critics of S.A.D. chief Parkash Singh Badal have accused him of failure to stem the rejection of turbans in Punjab, the heartland of the Sikh faith.

In the 2002 Assembly elections, dissident Akalis used the Sikh identity as a key campaign issue to corner Badal on the religious front.

The S.G.P.C. move comes a few days after the Delhi-to-Nankana Sahib palki [palanquin] march, attended by Badal's bete noire and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The event drew hundreds of thousands of participants in Punjab despite Badal's party opposing it as an attempt to encourage object worship by featuring a gilded palanquin as its central element.