U.K. LAW SECURES RIGHTS OF SIKHS TO CARRY KIRPANS
19, May 2019
Prelims level : International (IR2) Mains level : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations (GS2R)
Why in News:
- The U.K. government has passed an amendment by which Sikhs in the country will be allowed to carry kirpans and use it during religious and cultural functions. The ‘Offensive Weapons Bill’ received the royal assent.
- The Bill had been amended late last year to ensure that it would not impact the right of the British-Sikh community to possess and supply kirpans, or religious swords.
- The All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs had led a delegation to the U.K. Home Office to ensure that the kirpan remains exempt when the new Bill becomes law.
- Large kirpans, with blades over 50 cm, are used by the community during religious ceremonies in gurdwaras as well as for ceremonies involving the traditional Sikh Gatka martial art. The Offensive Weapons Act covers new offences around possession of certain offensive weapons in public.
- Guru Gobind Singh had declared that he would create such a Panth which would challenge the tyrant rulers in every walk of life to restore justice, equality and peace for all of mankind.
- This led to the institution of the Khalsa Sect.
- He introduced the 5Ks, of the Khalsa: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist), Kirpan (sword or dagger) and Kacchera (short breeches).