Renowned Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi voiced his protest against International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) controversial ruling on the use of turban while playing.
FIBA is being accused of discrimination owing to its headgear policy which requires Sikh players to remove their turbans while playing during the International Basketball Federation Asia Cup tournament in Wuhan, China. On the 12th of July, officials of the FIBA forced Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh to remove their patkas (modified turbans), during their match against China, stating that the patkas violated FIBAs headgear policy. The policy states that Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players. The global Sikh community has gained extensive support in their outrage over a piece of cloth binding their hair being considered capable of causing injury to other players. Since turbans are an indispensable article of Sikh faith, the forcible removal of two Indian players turbans has raised a big controversy. Voicing his protest against FIBA, Daler has signed a petition demanding that this policy must be changed. The singer made a video to raise awareness about the issue and to have the offensive policy changed. The Sikh musician urged his fans to fight against the offensive rule. A Sikhs turban is his honour. It has never harmed anyone. So I request everybody... to sign the petition at change.org so that we can have our honour back, says Daler Mehndi in his video. Sikh bodies have already condemned FIBAs policy of not allowing players wearing turbans to participate and asked them to reverse the decision. Other Indian personalities who have participated in the campaign against this discriminative policy include Sikh sportsmen Bishan Singh Bedi, Milkha Singh and his grandson Jeev Milkha Singh. Among the prominent international names that have supported the cause are US Congressmen Ami Bera and Joe Crowley, who wrote to Mr. Yvan Mainini, (President of FIBA) demanding that the discriminative policy should be changed.