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US Army gets its second Sikh recruit

December 12, 2009 21:45 IST

Close on the heels of accepting its first turbaned recruit, US Army has announced drafting of another Sikh in uniform, with community advocacy groups demanding that doors be opened for Sikhs in large numbers in US Army.

Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan has been accepted as an Army dentist and allowed to wear a turban and not shave his hair as a condition of joining the military. Confirming the drafting of Rattan, the community's advocacy group, Sikh Coalition, hailing the Army action, said these enrolments should not be treated as isolated cases and that doors should be opened for large-scale recruitment of Sikhs in the US Army.

"The Sikh Coalition remains concerned that there has not yet been a change in overall policy excluding Sikhs from the military," the group said in a statement. "The Army is America's largest and most prominent employer and discrimination against the recruitment of Sikhs, who maintain their articles of faith is not acceptable," the statement said. The Coalition said with the Army not yet opening its doors fully to the Sikhs, the community youth also face problems in getting enrolled to police and sheriff's departments.

Meanwhile, Rattan said that he was pleased that the Army has accepted him. "I thank the Sikh Coalition, the community and Sikh organisations that supported me. I look forward to the day when Sikhs can freely serve in any field, including the Army, without discrimination," Captain Rattan said.

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