Sikhs in the UK will be exempted from wearing hard hats at construction sites, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
“From now on Sikhs don’t have to wear hard hats at construction sites in our country,” Cameron said last night at a Vaisakhi reception he hosted at 10, Downing Street.
“We have already stopped searching of turbans in the UK,” he said, describing British Sikhs as “absolute role models in integrating with the British society.”
Britain’s notoriously stringent Health and Safety rules require workers to don myriad safety gear on-site, including hard hats and high-visibility clothing.
Acknowledging the Sikh contribution to British society, Mr Cameron called for Sikh representation “everywhere”, including in the Armed Forces and judiciary.
“Tthis year marks the 160 years since the first Sikh arrived in Britain. Since then, the story of British Sikhs has been one of success – of many thousands of people making a positive contribution in so many ways.
“From the Sikh entrepreneurs and small businesses who are creating jobs, to the business leaders who are helping to boost overseas trade, from the hardworking families who are getting on in life, to the sportsmen and women who do our country proud. Sikhs are a key part of our island story.”
He said, “As we celebrate the Sikhs contribution to Britain today, let’s also reflect on what their ancestors did for this nation in the past. A hundred years ago, well over 1.2 million men from India, many of them Sikhs, fought alongside Britain the First World War.
“Many fought and fell for the freedom we enjoy today and we must never forget that.”
India’s High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai as well as industrialists Lord Swraj Paul and Lord Navnit Dholakia were among those who attended the function.
– With inputs from the Press Trust of India