Highlights

  • USA: Sikh student alleges arrest for carrying 'kirpan'
  • BJP leader slammed discrimination against Sikh student
  • American university called it opportunity for dialogue

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USA: Sikh student arrested for having 'kirpan'; BJP leader slams university; authorities clarify

The incident occurred at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on 22 September 2022.

A major controversy erupted at an American university when a Sikh student claimed that he was arrested for carrying a kirpan, a dagger considered an integral part of the Sikh faith.

The incident occurred at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on 22 September 2022. The student tweeted a video of his arrest on 24 September. He claimed that he was handcuffed for resisting the police officer's move to take the kirpan out of its sheath.

The issue was even picked up by Indian politicians like BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who "condemned the discriminatory attitude of authorities towards Sikh students". Sirsa also appealed to India's foreign minister S. Jaishankar to address the issue at the global level.

On 23 September, a day after the incident, the university had released a statement. The varsity said that a call to police had been made over a person with a knife in the building.

The statement said, "The individual was placed in handcuffs while officers took possession of the object. The handcuffs were removed after the object was retrieved. Further investigation showed the item was a kirpan, an article of faith in Sikhism."

The statement by the university's chancellor and chief diversity officer added, "State law and University policy prohibit the possession of a knife or other edged instruments on campus, but we will use this as a learning opportunity by engaging in constructive dialogue with Sikh students and employees. Together, we are confident we can find reasonable measures and educational opportunities that both protect the safety of our campus and the religious practices of our community members."

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The statement ended by saying, "Our diversity makes us a better, richer, more successful community. We want every Niner to feel welcomed, supported and safe. We apologize that is not what this young man felt in our union yesterday. We are committed to ensuring it doesn’t happen again."

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