Estimated 2,000 take part in Dublin Sikh parade

Event in the Sandymount area marked Vaisakhi annual festival

One of the happiest men among the estimated 2,000 people taking part in the Sikh parade at Dublin’s Sandymount area on Sunday was Ravinder Singh.

In 2007, he had completed the first three stages of training for the Garda Reserve when he was told he could not wear a turban, obligatory for all Sikh men. In 2013 that decision was upheld by the High Court.

Last Thursday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris announced that Sikh men serving with the Garda would be permitted to wear turbans and Muslim women would be allowed wear a partial hijab or headscarf.

Ravinder Singh was “very happy” at the decision, which he described as “a big day for the community”. He has already been in contact with the Garda and “they said they’d come back to me”.

In Ireland 22 years and working in IT, he believes his Garda turban will be “navy blue”.

“I have the uniform at home for 12 years, with a badge to be applied on the turban. That’s what they do in the UK and other parts of the world.”

He gestured to his 16-year-old son Damanvir. who was standing nearby. “He’s got the height and the body. Another two years.”

Community of Sikhs

Manmeet Singh, one of the parade organisers, said the event was about “celebrating Vaisakhi, the biggest day in a Sikh’s life because it marks the birth of Khalsa”, a foundation event in the Sikh tradition dating back to 1699. It launched a community of Sikhs committed to key principles of their faith – honour, justice, and love of humanity...

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