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Sarkozy promises PM to look into turban issue

Paris, Sep 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday took up the issue of the ban on Sikh students wearing turbans in French schools when he met President Nicolas Sarkozy, who promised to look into it.

“The French president told the prime minister he will look into it,” Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters after the India-France summit here.

“The prime minister conveyed the (community’s) concerns and spoke about the sensitivities of the Sikhs living in France on this issue,” he said.

In France, wearing turbans is banned in public funded educational institutes.

Sarkozy had Monday ruled out lifting the ban.

“We respect Sikhs, their tradition and culture. We have rules concerning the neutrality of civil servants and rules concerning secularism,” Sarkozy told reporters during a joint press briefing with Manmohan Singh at the end of the 9th India-EU summit in Marseille.

“Rules apply to everybody with no exception. There is no discrimination (against Sikhs),” he said.