Airport refused to allow a Sikh woman carrying a four-inch
Manchester, Jan. 26, 2005
A ROW erupted today after Manchester Airport security
officials refused to allow a Sikh passenger on a flight
because she was carrying a four-inch dagger.
It comes after the M.E.N. revealed another woman unwittingly
smuggled a craft knife on to a flight from Manchester.
In the latest incident, officers in Terminal 2 refused
to let the 41-year-old to board an Air France jet to
The woman, who was on her way to Delhi to see family,
told officers she was wearing the ceremonial kirpan
knife under her clothing before she walked through a
The kirpan must be worn by baptised Sikhs as a religious
symbol, but managers insisted she would not be allowed
on her flight because it was considered a weapon.
She returned to check-in, where she was told her luggage
had been taken off the plane.
"It was very upsetting," said the woman,
from Leeds. "I don't understand why security should
worry that somebody like me might stab somebody. I paid
£540 for that ticket and I can't go.
"They also said they had already taken my bag
off the flight, so it was too late.
"The last time I flew, in March, 2001, I was able
to give my kirpan to the aircraft crew and they gave
it back to me afterwards. But this time, they insisted
they could not do this.
"We are supposed to wear it all the time, but
I would be willing to hand it to the crew. I would also
consider putting it in my luggage."
Panesar Balbinder, of Sikhs In England, was angry and
insisted the government had given Sikhs dispensation
to give their kirpan to flight crew for the duration
"It's a religious symbol, not a weapon. Other
airports allow the kirpan to be handed into the crew
and given back at the end of a flight."
A spokesman for Manchester Airport explained: "Such
items are prohibited and they cannot be carried on the
Katie Hulme, from Air France, said: "I'm sorry,
but there was no time to get her bag off the aircraft
and re-load it. It would then have missed its slot."
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said:
"Knives of all blade lengths are prohibited and
passengers are not permitted to take them into restricted
zones or onto an aircraft. Such articles may be put
in hold baggage that passengers no longer have access
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