A South Auckland based club - Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club has once again denied entry to Sikh patrons citing archaic rules around "headgears," which is the fourth such incident in the last decade.
One News on Monday, December 9, reported that Jagdip Bajwa went to the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club with some friends on the evening of Sunday, December 1 when was denied entry stating his turban violated the club's ban on headwear.
Mr Bajwa's friend Inderjit Singh was also present when the incident happened who tried to explain that its not a hat but a part of the dressing of a Sikh person to be worn by him all the time.
Speaking to the host on TVNZ1's Breakfast, Mr Bajwa said "I understand why you have the rules to control the dress, a turban is a formal part of every dress code.
"People are going to the Queen wearing a turban, Parliament… everywhere."
TVNZ reported that the first time the club denied entry to a turban clad person was in November 2009 when Karnail Singh was to attend a party organised in his honour at the club. The club also denied entry to a Muslim international student the same year for wearing a hijab or a religious headscarf.
The Indian Weekender's story of the fourth such case of prejudice against Sikhs
However, the Indian Weekender had reported in 2009, when an avid golfer and member of the Kiwi-Indian community Kharag Singh - who recently stood in local elections for Botany-Howick seat on Labour Party's ticket - was also denied entry into the club citing same reasons. (Read The Indian Weekender story here)
At that time the Sikh Council of New Zealand had also raised the issue with the Human Rights Commission, although the majority of community had then sought to resolve the issue with negotiation and not any conflict.
Kharag Singh (Photo: Facebook)
Kharag Singh was asked to leave the Aviation Country Golf Club in Auckland in February after playing a round of golf and later going to the bar for a few drinks, as is the tradition.
He was refused service by the bar manager because of his headgear, following which all his fellow team-mates left the club.
The matter was relayed to the Club's executives the next day; they immediately apologized in a letter to Singh.
Sikhism is the fifth most followed religion in NZ
In 2015, a Sikh real estate agent, Gurpreet Singh, was barred from entering the club because he was wearing a turban. Following this second outrage in 2015, the then Prime Minister John Key called the barring of Mr Singh 'very disappointing', Stuff had then reported.
In 2015, the club members voted to uphold the turban ban at its Annual General Meeting.
Speaking at the interview, Jagdip Bajwa said a turban cannot be taken off like a hat and worn again as it holds a religious significance and is part of the Sikh faith and culture.
One News reported that according to 2018 census, Sikhism is the fifth most followed religion in New Zealand with around 40,000 New Zealanders following Sikh religion.
Mr Singh said he found the behaviour of the club appalling, especially in New Zealand which is a modern-day multicultural society.
"This is Manurewa, one of the most diversified Indian communities in the country.' The guy told him if [we] had a medical certificate, [he] would let [us] in." Mr Singh added.
One News reported that Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon called the incident 'ridiculous' and added that it's not a reflection of New Zealand.