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US Police arrests a Sikh-convert for carrying kirpan

18 Jun 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa

A Sikh convert was arrested by the US police for carrying a kirpan at a grocery store.

The police handcuffed Harpreet Singh Khalsa after customers at the store called the police.

Khalsa said he stated to the police that the knife was part of his Sikh religion, but he was frisked, his kirpan taken, and he was driven to the local precinct.

In context: Is carrying a kirpan an offence?

Global laws on kirpan Legality of wearing kirpan around the world

In the UK and Canada, carrying a kirpan is legal.

However, in Canada, there are some places where the freedom is curtailed.

Swedish law bans "street weapons" in public places and hence there is conditional freedom.

The European Law too protects the kirpan by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of religion.

Denmark becomes 1st country to ban kirpan by Sikhs

On 24 October 2006, the Eastern High Court of Denmark supported its previous ruling that "wearing of Kirpan by a Sikh" was illegal. By this ruling, Denmark became the first country in the world to pass such a ruling.
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18 Jun 2017US Police arrests a Sikh-convert for carrying kirpan

Man arrested was originally Justin Smith

Harpreet Singh Khalsa was originally born Justin Smith and had converted to Sikhism nine years ago.
Not the first time that Khalsa was arrested for kirpan

18 Jun 2017Not the first time that Khalsa was arrested for kirpan

Khalsa was quoted in the daily The Baltimore Sun that this wasn't the first time he had been held for carrying a Kirpan.

Stressing on the significance of the kirpan, Khalsa responded: "We don't consider it a knife, but a visual reminder to stand up for justice."

He said kirpan obligates followers of Sikhism to the paragons of generosity and compassion.

Police justifies arrestBaltimore Police says strict no weapons policy followed

Baltimore County Officer Jennifer Peach said that once it was affirmed that Khalsa was not a threat he was later released.

Peach said there was no exception to the deadly weapons laws in Maryland.

She further said that this incident clearly shows that "this is an increasingly diverse county, and BCoPD (Baltimore County Police Department) works hard to understand and respect the many cultures".