Oz school apologises for forcing Sikh boy to shave off beard

Chandigarh: A catholic school in Australia, which had forced a Sikh student to shave off his beard, has apologised to him, Ministry of External Affairs said.

In a communique to Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna, who had demanded Central government`s intervention into the incident that took place last month, the MEA said principal of the Melbourne-based school has sought an apology from the student.

"The MEA said it had taken up the issue with the High Commission in Canberra which informed it that the school principal has apologised to the student for hurting religious sentiments," Khanna told reporters here on Thursday.

According to the letter, the Indian High Commission at Canberra was told that as per the school`s rules and regulations, it is mandatory for students to shave off their facial hair. However, at no stage the boy indicated his religious practices and his beard was not shaved off, the MP said.

Last month, the Sikh boy studying in class 11 at an outer northern Christian school in Melbourne was forced to a shave off his beard by the school administration, sparking an outrage among the Indian community which accused the institute of religious discrimination.