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Despite Having Legal Right, Sikh Man Detained in UK for Carrying Kirpan

Police have been criticised for 'not knowing the law' after the footage emerged of the man being confronted over his ceremonial knife.


Updated:August 10, 2019, 3:13 PM IST
Despite Having Legal Right, Sikh Man Detained in UK for Carrying Kirpan
Image only for representational purpose.

London: A Sikh man has been detained in the UK for carrying kirpan, despite having legal right to carry the religious dagger, which is an article of faith for the Sikhs, according to a media report.

The incident took place on Friday on Bull Street in Birmingham and was uploaded to various social media pages. The man told the police officer, "I'm a Sikh. I can carry this if I want to," the Metro reported. However, the officer accused him of being aggressive and calls for back-up from other officers.

The incident has been condemned by the British Sikh Council after being posted on a British-Punjabi Facebook group. The group said: "If he's a practicing Sikh then there shouldn't be an issue."

Police have been criticised for "not knowing the law" after the footage emerged of the man being confronted over his ceremonial knife, the report said. However, some defended the police officer's actions saying with that with a backdrop of crime it was his right to be cautious.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "Police on patrol in Birmingham city centre spoke to a man who was acting aggressively just before 6:30pm on Monday August 5 in Dale End. He was advised regarding his behaviour and no further action was taken."

The incident comes after another Sikh man was stopped by police for carrying a Kirpan at Gatwick airport, the report said. A Kirpan is part of a religious commandment in which Sikhs must wear five articles of faith at all times.

Under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, if a person can provide justification and evidence their bladed article is used for "religious reasons only" then it can be used as a "defence" should they then be charged with the possession, the report added.

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