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Amritdhari Sikhs allowed to wear kirpans to Vancouver 2010 Winter Games



Sikhs allowed to wear kirpan at Vancouver 2010 Olympics
Blade not more than four inches
Sheath may not exceed 7.5 inches


Vancouver, Oct. 16, 2009
Sushma Choudhry

The Vancouver RCMP Security Unit for 2010 Vancouver Olympic games, announced Thursday that Sikhs will be permitted to wear ceremonial kirpan (dagger) to Vancouver 2010 Winter Games venues.

To ease access to 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games events for those adhering to Sikh religious tenets, the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (V2010 ISU) has developed guidelines that enable the wearing of the kirpan as an article of faith for initiated or Amritdhari Sikhs.

The new guidelines were developed in consultation with representatives of the Sikh community to ensure those who carry the kirpan as part of their religious practice are able to attend Olympic and Paralympic events.

Maintaining the security and safety of Games venues, participants, personnel, and spectators is paramount. The new guidelines provide reasonable accommodation for religious freedoms as defined by Canadian laws and values, while clearly identifying the conditions under which the kirpan may be worn. Research conducted by the Integrated Security Unit indicates there are very few examples of a kirpan being used as a weapon ensuring it is reasonable to expect no additional risk at the venues.

To ensure the screening process runs smoothly, the new guidelines require anyone wearing a kirpan to inform security personnel prior to being screened at venues, and to meet the following stipulations:

1.All articles of faith must be worn.
2.The maximum TOTAL length of the kirpan, including the sheath may not exceed 7.5 inches with a blade of not more than four inches and a handle of two inches or less.
3.The kirpan must be worn in keeping with Sikh traditions including being secured into its sheath, attached to a fabric belt and worn across the torso.
4.The kirpan must be worn under clothing and not easily accessible.
If these stipulations are not met, the V2010 ISU reserves the right to refuse admittance.

In the more than 100 years that Sikhs have been in Canada, a kirpan has never been used as a weapon in school or in public place

The kirpan must be worn with all five Sikh articles of faith, including uncut hair, a wooden comb to secure the hair often worn in combination with a turban, an iron bracelet and a cotton singlet.