National appeal launched by Liberty to support Sarika

The National Assembly Against Racism and campaign group Liberty are appealing to the British public to support Sarika,, a 14yr old  Sikh Pupil in Wales who is being discriminated against because of her faith

The following web site has been set up in support of Sarika:

Sarika Singh is a 14-year old girl who attends Aberdare Girls’ School in Wales.

She wears a ‘Kara’ to school  a visible article of faith that represents her belief, and because of this she has been excluded from the school. The school keep referring to her Kara as a piece of jewellery and therefore a health & safety risk

Prior to being excluded she had been put into isolation at school and was being taught separately to every other student, as she refused to remove her Kara. While in isolation she was not allowed to talk to any of her friends and was not even allowed to go to the bathroom without a teacher. She has not been allowed to take part in school activities or clubs after school.

Following her exclusion from 5 November the family with the help of Liberty is being forced to seek a judicial review as the school is demanding she remove the small bangle called a Kara. Various parties have tried to resolve this matter by discussing it and arranging meetings (with the school), but the school has not been forthcoming.

Like any other 14-year-old.Sarika is very upset and wants to go back to school as soon as possible. She is a good student and she wants to see her friends.

Welsh Assembly member Leanne Wood has said the case shows schools (in Wales) need guidance on uniforms. The guidance in Wales has been pending for four years.

Anna Fairclough, of the human rights group Liberty which is providing legal representation has said: “The school's reaction to our client's desire to modestly observe her faith has not only been discriminatory but defies common sense.

“Unfortunately, the school's uniform policy appears to mean that no Sikh can attend the school without compromising their beliefs.”

Following the Mandla v Lee case (House of Lords 1983) Sikhs are protected under the Race Relations Act 1976 and the school is unlawfully discriminating against Sarika. From a legal perspective it is similar to a child being excluded because of the colour of their skin and is totally unacceptable.

The following web site has been set up in support of Sarika:

Please support Sarika by visiting the web site and signing the online petition. You could also circulate this link to friends via e-groups, discussion forums etc.

Article provided by National Assembly Against Racism

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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