NRI Sikh wearing ceremonial
kirpan ( dagger) denies entry Calgary Courthouse
Calgary Jan. 16 2008
On Monday, NRI Tejinder Singh Sidhu, 25, was supposed to testify
as a witness in a case involving a car accident but he was told
that he couldn't enter the building unless he left his three-inch
kirpan with security.
Tejinder told media after this incedent:
- I've been born and raised in Calgary but this is really the
first issue that's come up. The reason why the public needs to
know is so that this doesn't happen to another individual.
- I carries the kirpan at all times as a symbol of my religious
beliefs. I havn't taken off my kirpan since I he received it at
baptism as a child.
- It's sad that Canada, being the greatest country in the world
and we're still dealing with this in 2008
- The security was unwilling to compromise, even after I suggested
them, they escort me in to the courtroom while I testified.
- The courthouse rules restricted me from performing my civic
- This is something that we keep on us at all times ... I bathe
with it, I sleep with it
The wearing of a kirpan in public places has been an issue for
more than a decade in Canada. Greyhound does not allow travellers
to wear them and airlines have also banned them.
Weiler, spokesman for the Alberta solicitor general, said the sheriff
was following policy. Our policy clearly states that kirpans are
an unauthorized item that are not permitted in the courthouse.
The Supreme Court handed down a unanimous and landmark ruling in
2006 that Sikh students have the constitutional right to carry ceremonial
daggers to school.