New Delhi: The Indian Sports Ministry on Wednesday expressed "shock and outrage" over the incident of two Sikh players being asked to remove their turbans at the recently-concluded FIBA Asia Cup in China and sought details from the Basketball Federation of India, which has already taken up the matter with the international body.
"We have written to them and are awaiting their response. Once we get the response, we will act accordingly," a Basketball Federation of India spokesperson told PTI.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the ministry has asked the International Olympic Council to issue necessary instructions to international sports federations, so that such incidents are not repeated.
"We are shocked and outraged. Wearing a turban does not affect fair play and has not been objected to in international sports championships. Therefore, the latest incident has surprised and shocked us. We have spoken to BFI and sought a detailed report from them," Sonowal said in a release.
"We have also asked the IOC to issue necessary guidelines/instructions to international sports federations so that such incidents do not take place again. Our Government respects all religion and will do everything to ensure that their sentiments do not get hurt," he added.
Two Sikh players -- Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh --were stopped from entering the court minutes before India were to open their campaign against Japan on July 12 at FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan and were asked to remove their turbans.
The officials of the International Basketball Federation told the players that they were not allowed to play with their turbans on as it was in violation of the rules.
"There is an Annual General Assembly of the FIBA Asia at Doha on Thursday and BFI senior vice-president K Govindraj will be attending the meeting and would be taking up the matter with them. And from there on, we will be going forward," the BFI spokesperson said.
The two players initially did not figure in the starting five and it was only after they removed their turbans, that they were they allowed to play in the first quarter.
Both of them were forced to play the remaining six games of the tournament without wearing their turbans.