In a remarkable move towards greater inclusivity and diversity within its ranks, the Fiji Police Force has recently granted approval for Sikh officers to wear turbans with the official Fiji Police crown. This historic decision marks a significant milestone in the country’s law enforcement history, demonstrating a commitment to honoring the cultural and religious traditions of its officers while promoting a more inclusive society.
Navjeath Singh Sohata, a devout Sikh and the first police officer to don a turban with the official Fiji Police crown, has become a symbol of this positive change. Sohata, at the age of 20, is currently undergoing training as part of Batch 66 in the Basic Recruits Course in Nasova. His journey into the police force reflects the challenges and personal sacrifices he knew he would face, being a Sikh with deep religious convictions.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew, made the groundbreaking decision to allow Sikh officers to wear turbans with the official Fiji Police crown, recognizing that diversity and inclusivity are essential elements of effective policing. The move not only upholds the fundamental principles of equality and fairness but also sends a powerful message about embracing differences in Fiji’s multicultural society.
Commissioner Chew expressed his pride in the organization’s commitment to fostering an inclusive environment within the police force. He emphasized that this decision is a testament to the force’s dedication to the principles of diversity and equality.
Fiji has a long history of Sikh officers in its police force, dating back to the early 1910s when the first Sikh constables were recruited. Sikhs in Fiji have played a significant role in various fields, including farming, education, and law enforcement. The Khalsa High School in the Ba district and the Suva Gurdwara, built in 1922, are important landmarks that reflect the enduring contributions of the Sikh community to Fiji.
For Navjeath Singh Sohata, joining the police force was a challenging but deeply meaningful journey. Hailing from Dreketi village in the Northern Division of Fiji, he initially faced the difficulty of being away from his family during training. However, his determination to make his family proud and excel in his professional life shines through.
This historic decision by the Fiji Police Force serves as an inspiring example of a government institution embracing diversity and respecting the rights of individuals to practice their faith and maintain their cultural identity. It sends a clear message that Fiji is a nation committed to unity in diversity, where all citizens are encouraged to take pride in their heritage while working together for a better future.