Californian legislators give a lead on kirpans
The California State legislature has passed a groundbreaking bill to train law enforcement personnel about the importance of the ‘kirpans’ Sikhs are charged to carry by their faith.
In the tension following the events of 9/11 an increasing number of Sikhs carrying the symbolic blade in the US have been arrested and charged with violating state or concealed weapons laws.
Lobby group the Sikh Coalition has successfully resolved over 20 criminal cases involving the carrying of the kirpan, negotiating either withdrawal or dismissal of charges,
California’s lawmakers have been praised by Gurbachan Singh, chief of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, who said followers of every religion should have the freedom to keep their religious symbols with them. “The US has set an example before others and we hope other countries will soon follow,” he said.
The bill will become law, the first of its kind in the UK, when it gains Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature in October.
More information: www.sikhnet.com/news
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