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Harbhajan Apologizes for Letting Hair Down, Slams S.G.P.C.
If the S.G.P.C. wishes to act, it should focus on the massive problem pertaining to the distribution of free alcohol to buy votes during S.G.P.C. elections rather than attempt to earn brownie points by singling out Harbhajan Singh for trying to earn a living.
P.T.I., Chandigarh, Oct. 7, 2006
Photo: Harbhajan Singh on the ramp
Photo: Royal Stag Whisky
Ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh today apologised to the Sikh community for 'hurting' their emotions by keeping his hair open in an advertisement.
Harbhajan, who was pulled up by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee [S.G.P.C.], the apex religious body of Sikhs, said he respected emotions of the people of his community and did not do it intentionally.
'If my action has hurt the Sikh community, then I feel sorry for it. I will take note of it (in future),' Harbhajan said.
The S.G.P.C. yesterday demanded an apology from the spinner, saying that the religion prohibited a Sikh from keeping his hair open.
'Harbhajan Singh should apologise for appearing in the advertisement if he considers himself to be a Sikh. Our religion prohibits keeping one's hair open. We also strongly object to his appearing in the advertisement in this fashion,' S.G.P.C. President Avtar Singh had said.
However, Harbhajan today slammed the S.G.P.C. for taking up the issue in media.
'It's bad that the S.G.P.C. took up the issue in media. If they had any problem, they should have called me like a son and told me. But, their action was wrong,' he said.
Harbhajan said he had no idea that his photo-shoot in this fashion for an advertisement would become so big an issue.
'I respect the emotions of Sikhs and I never knew it will snowball into such a big issue.'
S.G.P.C. head had said they would seek apology from the (liquor) company [Royal Stag] which had given the advertisement, also figuring other popular cricket stars Yuvraj Singh and Mahender Singh Dhoni along with the spinner.
Avtar Singh had said that Harbhajan should learn something from English spinner Monty Panesar, who despite being brought up abroad and playing for England promotes Sikhism.
However, Harbhajan said there were thousands of Sikhs who had even cut their hair and were occupying highest posts in public life, but nobody pointed fingers at them.
'They compare me with Panesar, which is wrong. Comparisons should not be made in the first place, but if they have to, why S.G.P.C. does not compare me with Yuvraj Singh and Gurdas Mann (both Sikhs who have trimmed their hair),' he said.