A Sikh family in California has alleged discrimination at a go-kart track on account of the turban or patka that is central to their faith.
The Singh family of Alameda county in the San Francisco Bay Area has alleged that staff at Boomer’s, a fun centre in Livermore city that owns the go-kart track, stopped four members of the family who had gone there July 28 to use the track, local media reported Saturday.
Arminder Singh, 26, Gurpreet Singh, 16, Diljit Singh, 15, and Jaskirat Singh, 11, waited in line for several minutes and when it was their turn,a Boomers employee told them that their turbans were not allowed.
“(Sikh) Men are supposed to wear them at all times,” the Contra Costa Times quoted Manmeet Singh, an attorney and a representative of United Sikhs, an advocacy group, as saying.
“There was no policy stating any such thing on the premises where they were. There were posted signs, but nothing about turbans,” he said, adding that it was a case of blatant racism.
However Palace Entertainment, the company that owns Boomer’s, said that it was just an issue of safety and all of its go-kart tracks have a uniform policy preventing patrons from wearing anything on their heads.
“We’ve had a safety policy in place for quite some time at all our parks that prohibits hats, baseball caps, yarmulkes,” Michele Wischmeyer, vice-president of marketing at Palace Entertainment, was quoted as saying.
“It has nothing to do with a discrimination policy and everything to do with a safety policy.”
However, Manmeet Singh said that Boomer’s employees used “subtle racial slurs” while arguing with the family.
He has now started an online petition on the website of United Sikhs in which he has also posted a photograph of the four allegedly discriminated against persons.
“The notices posted at the location and on the website pictures of which are in the possession of United Sikhs, bans loose clothing, sandals and long untied hair among other things but there was no mention of religious headwear or the patka being banned. On the contrary, the patka supports their policy of keeping the hair tied during the ride,” the petition stated.
The legal team of United Sikhs has sent an evidence preservation letter to the company authorities urging them not to tamper with video footage or any other evidence related to the incident.
Meanwhile, the family is also reportedly contemplating a lawsuit.
(Source : IANS)