Sikhs seek CAA rule change for kirpans

The Government is considering exempting kirpans from civil aviation rules – allowing them to be carried on board planes rather than stowed away with luggage.

Parliament’s first Sikh MP says there needs to be legislation around ceremonial daggers so it’s clear they are not weapons and are safe to be worn.

National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said the biggest issue for Sikhs is being able to wear a kirpan – a short dagger that symbolises a Sikh’s duty to come to the defence of those in need – at their workplace and at public events.

Recently seven Sikh cricket fans were barred from watching India play Zimbabwe in a Cricket World Cup match at Eden Park because they were wearing kirpans.

ICC spokesperson Philip Clark said he was comfortable with the way staff handled the situation at Eden Park and the policy banning all knives would be in place for the rest of the tournament.

He said the men were given the option of having their Kirpan respectfully removed and looked after or a ticket refund.

The Prime Minister, John Key, said the ICC made their own rules around the tournament, he did sympathise with the Sikh community regarding kirpans.

Labour’s ethnic communities spokesman, Phil Goff, says maximum freedom for Sikhs to practise their religious beliefs and wear kirpans should be set out in law.

“In other countries, such as India, Canada, the United Kingdom and some Australian states, legislation has been passed recognising this right.”

He said while safety needed to be considered – other countries have proven that the “right by law to carry the kirpan has not caused problems”.


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News category: New Zealand.

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