(20 Oct 2004)
Bobigny, Outside Paris
1. Courtyard outside Sikh Temple
2. Sikhs in courtyard outside the temple
Cergy-Pontoie, Outside Paris
3. Kudrat Singh walking into administrative tribunal
4. SOUNBDBITE: (French) Kudrat Singh, member of the United Sikh Organisation:
"We are waiting. We are in a kind of judicial vagueness that can't last. We are citizens like everyone else. These youth are French. They are born in France. Well, we need to know, to find our place in a precise judicial frame. I feel that France, my country, I am born in France, has signed and ratified a certain number of international conventions. I would like to know if it has the intention to respect its signature or not."
Bobigny, Outside Paris
5. Kudrat Singh walking down steps outside temple courtyard
6. Sikhs in courtyard
7. Sikh putting on shoes in temple courtyard
8. Closeup of Sikh
9. SOUNDBITE: (French) Bikramjit Singh, excluded student
"Today we are asking the court that the national education takes a decision with our case because they are telling us to wait and wait and they will do something. It has been seven weeks, and now we need a decision."
10. SOUNDBITE: (French) Ranjit Singh, excluded student
"The headmaster has put us aside. He told me that I wouldn't be accepted in school while I was accepted last year, so the reasons are because of the internal rules that forbid all kind of headwear. Last year, I always came to school with my turban. It didn't cause any problem, so it's quite weird to me."
11. SOUNDBITE: (French) Jasvir Singh, excluded student
"Agitation and frustration, because this problem doesn't even concern the law. They are not even applying what the law asks, what the law asks to be applied. We are here doing nothing, we are in nothing, we are not at school, we have no classes, we have nothing. We are in the void without anything to do."
12. SOUNDBBITE: (French) Kudrat Singh, member of the United Sikh Organisation
"The failure would be that the kids would not be reintegrated and that the effort we made by asking them to wear a black under-turban, which is a major concession for us, is not recognised and it is not considered a discreet sign, which it is. In this case, we will have to go further and there will be a disciplinary council, maybe exclusion of the students, decision from the Rector and then our lawyers will study, maybe with international lawyers, the procedure to follow."
13. Exterior of Temple from courtyard
Three French Sikh students temporarily banned from school for refusing to take off their turbans continued with their court case against the decision on Wednesday.
France's small Sikh community, an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people, was forgotten during a marathon debate before the law banning conspicuous religious signs in public schools was passed in March.
However, Sikhs were the first to take their troubles to court.
They asked an administrative court for an urgent decision on the cases of Bikramjit Singh, Ranjit Singh and Jasvir Singh who have been kept out of class at the Louise Michel school in the Paris suburb of Bobigny since the start of the school year in September, when the new laws came in to effect.
The court was initially expected to reach a decision on Wednesday, but court officials said the case was complicated and needed further study and that a decision was likely on Friday.
For traditional Sikhs the external appearance is sacred, and men and boys who practice the faith wear turbans to cover their unshorn hair.
The law is intended to uphold France's constitutionally guaranteed principle of secularism, considered undermined by a growing number of Muslim girls wearing head scarves in public school classrooms.
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