Sikhs Upset About Turban Searches

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Some adherents of the Sikh religion are upset with a new Transportation Security Administration policy that will allow random searches of turbans. According to India Daily, until recently, TSA staff would pat down or ask for removal of the turban, a religious icon in the Sikh faith, only if the metal detector kept going off. The newspaper says TSA staff now have “greater discretion” to inspect turbans, including searching for non-metallic weapons. [more] And while the issue might seem straightforward in North America, it has political effects in South Asia. The India Times speculates that the increased focus on turbans is a result of the Khalistan movement in India, in which Sikhs are trying to establish an independent homeland. Alleged Sikh extremists were charged, but later acquitted, of setting bombs that destroyed an Air India Boeing 747 and killed two baggage handlers at Narita Airport in Japan in 1985.