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Indian minister criticizes 'no-headgear' rule after Sikh players told to remove turbans

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NEW DELHI - India's sports minister has criticized the 'no-headgear' rule of basketball's world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the national team were told to remove their turbans during the recent Asia Cup in China.

Sarbananda Sonowal said in a statement Thursday he was "shocked and outraged" and was seeking a report from the Basketball Federation of India as well as urging the International Olympic Committee to instruct sporting federations to alter rules so such an incident is not repeated.

According to FIBA rules, players are not allowed to use headgear, hair accessories and jewelry.

The players, Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh, were told to remove their turbans, which followers of the Sikh religion are expected to wear, in the match against Japan on July 12 but never before that.

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