Singh in airport turban row
New Delhi - The coach of Indian golf star Jeev Milkha Singh blasted Italian airport officials for insisting he remove his turban before boarding a flight, comparing it to being ordered to strip in public.
Amritinder Singh was about to fly from Milan to Sicily with the player for this week's European Tour event when he said he was forced to take off his turban for security reasons.
"It is a personal insult as I have travelled all over the world and even though security officials put their detectors around my turban, I have never had to remove it," said Amritinder in a statement.
"For me it is like being asked to strip in public. I also told them that they could look at my passport and see that I am a sportsperson and have never been humiliated like this but they refused to comply.
"I even told them that this is not security but harassment. I belong to a country whose prime minister wears a turban, and I feel that my nation should take up such issues with other countries."
The coach said that Jeev Milkha Singh had told him to stand his ground and refuse to comply with the demand.
"My father wears a turban and I would be horrified if he was told to remove it unnecessarily and unrespectfully in front of hundreds of people," said the player.
Jeev Milkha Singh, 39, is currently ranked 176 in the world and has won three European Tour events - the Volvo Masters and China Open in 2006 and the 2008 Austrian Open.
He also has six victories on the Asian Tour. His Volvo Masters win was at a co-sanctioned event.
Jeev Milkha Singh's father said this was the second such incident to have happened in Italy.
"It is an insult to the Sikh community and we should take it seriously. The entire Sikh community is outraged over the racial profiling," said Milkha Singh, the former Indian Olympic runner.