Sikh man "arrested by police in Birmingham city center for wearing open ceremonial Kirpan dagger in public"
- Exemption from the Offensive Weapons Act of 2018 allows Sikhs to wear the Kirpan
- But officers were captured and held men in traditional clothes
- In a mixed reaction, footage appeared in a British-Punjabian Facebook group
- The British Sikh Council said there should be no problem wearing a kirpan
A Sikh man was arrested by a police officer for wearing a ceremonial dagger openly in public – even though he is legally authorized to wear it.
The suspect, who has the Kirpan in a scabbard at the waist, tells the policeman: "I am a Sikh that I can wear if I want to."
The incident happened on Bull Street in Birmingham and was uploaded to various social media sites yesterday. A woman in the clip claimed it was over the ceremonial dagger.
The Facebook page "British by paper – Punjabi by nature" yesterday published the video on its page entitled "The police arrest Sikh man for wearing a Kirpan".
Pictured: The police yesterday arrested a man in Birmingham city center wearing a Kirpan
Last year, the UK government made an exception to the 2018 Offensive Weapons Act to allow Sikhs to wear Kirpans for religious reasons.
The clip shows a man – who has not been arrested – in a traditional blue garment with a curved kirpan that is about a foot long and strapped around his waist. The police officer speaks on the radio and asks other police officers for support.
The officer then begins to explain the situation and why the man was stopped. The man only replies, "Why, why, why?" The man begins to speak as he speaks to bystanders.
The police officer speaks again on his radio and says: "He's a little upset with me."
The man points to a bus driver and asks the officer: "Could you call this bus driver, he's going to my temple."
Then you hear a woman say, "They're arresting him for no reason because they're wearing a kirpan."
The Sikh then approaches the bus driver and the officer tries to stop him. The officer says, "Sir, you don't have to walk around while I detained you."
The officer is seen holding the Sikh man's arm as a crowd gathers.
Are Sikhs allowed to wear Kirpans in public?
The Offensive Weapons Act of 2018 increased the number of items that are prohibited in public places.
The crackdown came after a flood of acid attacks and knife stabs across the country and in a year when the homicide rate in London exceeded that in New York.
The bill extended the definition of offensive weapons to include knives.
It was also a crime to transport a corrosive substance to a public place for no "good reason".
However, at the end of 2018, the bill had to be amended to ensure that Sikhs could continue to practice an important principle of their belief, namely wearing a kirpan.
This meant introducing an exception for wearing blades in public.
Kirpans vary in size, but all are permitted under the bill that received the royal ascent.
Although it is illegal to be caught in public with a small blow knife, a Kirpan up to 50 cm is not considered an offensive weapon under British law.
The video has been viewed over 30,000 times and has shared many in the comments.
Gad Khalsasports Khalsagirls said: “Lack of training by the officer. He could have handled it better … definitely has to think about his education and working with the public. & # 39;
Raggy Bhoy Singh added, "The police should learn the law before it is released to the general public."
Qamar Raja wrote: "There are so many people here who think they know everything. For God's sake do some research. Sikhs in this country are legally allowed to wear their Kirpan and they wear it any way they want."
However, many believe that the officer had the right to stop the man. Mike Bailey said, "Why should anyone be treated other than the laws of the country in which they want to stay / settle, whether religion or not, the law is the law."
Rahul Phillip added: “But it could be a public threat considering someone could pull it out and use it. Keep it safe and hidden. Britain may have the highest number of knife attacks. & # 39;
Gemma West wrote: “Ultimately, this can be used as a weapon and to see that people can find it intimidating. Keep it at home. & # 39;
This happens after a Sikh man has been stopped by the police for carrying a Kirpan at Gatwick Airport.
The Sikh man has now asked for more information about his ceremonial dagger and its significance for religion.
A kirpan is part of a religious commandment in which Sikhs must wear five articles of faith at all times.
According to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, if a person can provide justification and evidence that their blade article is used only for "religious reasons", it can be used as "defense" if that person is accused of possessing an offensive weapon.
A British Sikh Council insider said today, "If he is a practicing Sikh, there shouldn't be a problem."
A spokesman for the West Midlands Police said, "The patrol police in downtown Birmingham spoke to a man who acted aggressively in Dale End on Monday, August 5, just before 6:30 p.m. He was advised on his behavior and no further action was taken. & # 39;
What is a kirpan and why are the blades important for some Sikhs?
The Kirpan is a ceremonial blade, the size of which varies, the larger ones being about 50 cm.
Like the Sikh religion, it comes from India and is of central importance for belief for historical reasons.
Guru Gobind Singh, a revered leader of religion, recognized the importance of the Kirpan in 1699.
Pictured: A Sikh holds a Kirpan at his side, as prescribed by the tradition of the 17th century
Pictured: A Sikh holds his kirpan on top of his turban, which holds his uncut hair up
Singh decreed that Sikhs wear the ceremonial blade as part of his articles of faith, sometimes referred to as the Five Ks.
Sikhs wore not only the kirpan, but also the kara (an iron bracelet) and the kachera, a kind of boxer shorts with a cord at the waist.
He also instructed the faithful never to cut their hair (a principle called Kesh) and to wear a kanga (wooden comb).
The guru said that followers should or should wear the Five Ks at all times, which means that for traditionalists, it is central to their daily religious observance.
For less conservative Sikhs, the kirpan may be reserved for special occasions or ceremonial events.
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