My Story: "My Constitution Allows Me To Carry A Kirpan But Why Am I Still Questioned Everytime?"

21 Sep 2018 12:41 PM GMT
My Story: My Constitution Allows Me To Carry A Kirpan But Why Am I Still Questioned Everytime?

“I’m a Sikh, and it is part of my religion to wear 5 Ks: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb for the hair), Kara (an iron bracelet), Kachera (100% cotton tieable undergarment (not an elastic one) and Kirpan (an iron dagger large enough to defend oneself). Especially a Kirpan. It’s part of our religion since its inception and is also part of the law in India since the day Constitution of India was written. As per Article 25, “The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion.” And this is known by almost every guard I’ve encountered in New Delhi, the capital of India, and other big cities like Mumbai. Even in airports, I’m not questioned about my Kirpan

However, guards of Bengaluru lack this information and every single time I visit a mall or a public place with guards, I’ve to not only quote the Constitution, but also go through a series of discussions with each of their supervisors until someone knowledgeable recognizes my religion and quickly asks the guards to let me in. I can understand spending 20 minutes in a mall is not that bad, but my main problem is that even the guards of the metro don’t know of this. A 20 minute delay in a journey is not acceptable solely because of the guard’s ignorance. And I’ve to face this every time I enter the metro.

I hope that the authorities take cognizance of this and try to install boards in the metros telling that Sikhs are allowed to carry Kirpan. If not that then at least they educate all guards about the basic constitutional right of Sikhs.”

Article 25

Article 25 of the constitution speaks of Freedom of the free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Under this, the wearing and carrying of Kirpans are included in the profession of the Sikh religion and that they would not be denied from doing so.

It is also to be noted that Karnataka in September last year had put a ban on possession of swords, machetes, kirpans and kukris. This was pushed after an RSS worker Rudresh in Shivajinagar was murdered. Speaking on the inclusion of Kirpan under this ban, the then Additional chief secretary (home) Subash Chandra said that kirpans need not be exempted as Sikhs were already protected under other state laws, as reported by The Times of India.

However, after much criticism, the Karnataka government then clarified that there was no blanket ban on Kirpans. A statement from Karnataka government said, “A kirpan which is not longer than 9″ or wider than 2″ is not covered under the ban as per Arms Rules, 2016. There is no blanket ban on the issue and Sikhs can carry kirpans in Karnataka as before,” as reported by Business Standard.

Story By – Divjot Singh

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