Jagmeet Singh detained at the airport for carrying a Kirpan: Calls for more Awareness

When Sardar Jagmeet Singh from Wolverhampton was waiting for his family, who were on a flight, at Gatwick Airport, U.K.,...

When Sardar Jagmeet Singh from Wolverhampton was waiting for his family, who were on a flight, at Gatwick Airport, U.K., he was questioned by security staff after a member of the public had reported a man carrying a knife.

Following his detention by airport security, Mr. Singh called for more training for staff and greater awareness. The video of the incident was uploaded to various social media pages.

 Mr. Jagmeet Singh said, "I could understand if there was a concealed weapon and someone was acting dodgy in some way. But I'm a family man, picking up my family and I've got my kirpan on display."

Sikhs carry the Kirpan as a symbol of faith. Gatwick highlighted Department for Transport guidance which said airport managers had "the discretion to prohibit any article which, in their view might be used or adapted for causing injury or the incapacitation of a person". It added: "The carriage of blades including kirpans and knives less than 6cm is at the discretion of the airport manager."

Drayton Manor theme park lifted its knife ban in 2017 after a Sikh family from Coventry was denied admittance because a man refused to remove his kirpan. Merlin Entertainments followed suit in March of last year, allowing kirpans at all of its UK attractions except the London Eye. 

The Parliament is currently considering the Offensive Weapons bill. A spokesman said, 

 "to ensure that the possession and supply of large kirpans for religious reasons can continue." 

Knives may be carried for religious purposes under current law. A campaign has been initiated to educate the public on the Basics of Sikhi and seek more specific legal protection for Sikhs carrying kirpans.

THE KIRPAN - What is it?

Kirpans (from kirpa, mercy, and aan, honor) symbolize power and freedom and are symbols of fighting injustice and oppression, but they cannot be instruments of violence. 

The kirpan is frequently referred to as a dagger or a small sword, which is accurate, but that description is misleading because it is so removed from the kirpan's true purpose. In the Sikh religion, it is an article of faith, similar to a Christian cross, a Jewish Star of David, or a Muslim hijab, with one crucial difference: it is not optional. As one of the five k's, the kirpan is so much more than a religious decoration. It is required to be worn at all times and cannot be accurately compared to a cross that a Christian would choose to wear. It is an integral part of the Khalsa Sikh identity.

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