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Ban on kirpan in Australian schools: Swaraj's intervention sought


Ban on kirpan in Australian schools

The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter of the ban on kirpan in Australian schools.

PATIALA: The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter of the ban on kirpan in Australian schools.

In a letter written to the Sushma Swaraj, DSGMC General Secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that the Education Department in Queensland, Australia, has banned wearing of the kirpan (ceremonial dagger) due to which students are facing harassment and are being subject to discrimination by the authorities.

Sirsa said that last year, after consultations with the police, authorities had allowed kirpan in school premises. Now the Education Department has dismissed the decision taken by the school principal.

He said the kirpan is a religious commandment that an Amritdhari Sikh (Baptised Sikh) must wear in addition to four other articles of faith at all times. Even Sikh air travellers are allowed to carry it on flights.

He said that such discrimination is against the right to freedom of religion. He added that as per the human rights resolution passed at the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the world body had made a commitment to religious freedom to all human beings in the world.

The Sikh community is subject to harassment for carrying the kirpan and other articles of their faith in various parts of the world and this discrimination does not seem to be coming to an end despite the DSGMC taking up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry and embassies of different countries, Sirsa lamented.

Requesting the minister to take up the matter with Australian authorities urgently, Sirsa said that the DSGMC is a representative body of Sikhs and thus, is answerable to the community.

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