Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this ban was affecting the fundamental rights and religious freedom of Sikh players.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, termed the headgear ban as appalling, pointless, narrow-minded, discriminatory, racism and unjust; and added that it should immediately go.
Rajan Zed urged basketball coaches-referees-players of the world to stand up in solidarity and sportsmanship with the Sikh players and refuse to play till the headgear ban was lifted.
Zed also urged His Holiness Pope Francis to come out openly in support of Sikhs on this issue. International Olympic Committee, whose role is to “act against any form of discrimination”, should also jump in to impart wisdom to FIBA, Zed added.
What was United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights doing, who was “mandated to promote and protect human rights for all” and speak out “objectively in the face of human rights violations”? Rajan Zed asked.
Zed further said that FIBA Central Board meeting at Sevilla (Spain) on August 27, instead of making a final decision of removing the headgear ban, deferred this issue for the future, saying “it requires further analysis”.
FIBA, the world governing body for basketball whose tagline is “We Are Basketball”, is an independent association formed by 214 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. Yvan Mainini, Horacio Muratore and Patrick Baumann are President, Vice President and Secretary General respectively of its Central Board. Founded in 1932 and headquartered in Mies (Switzerland), FIBA establishes the Official Basketball Rules, and claims that 11% of the world plays basketball.