Current Affairs

U.K. Government allows Sikhs to Carry Kirpans

The U.K. Government has passed an amendment- the 'Offensive Weapons Bill', by which Sikhs in the country will be allowed to carry Kirpans and use it during religious and cultural functions.
U.K. Government allows Sikhs to Carry Kirpans

Details:

  • The Offensive Weapons Bill received the royal assent.
  • The Bill had been amended in 2018 to ensure that it would not impact the right of the British-Sikh community to possess and supply kirpans, or religious swords.
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs had led a delegation to the U.K. Home Office to ensure that the Kirpan remains exempt when the new Bill becomes law.
  • The new law would, therefore, maintain the status quo in continuing to legally safeguard the sale, possession and use of large Kirpans.
  • Large Kirpans, with blades over 50 cm, are used by the community during ceremonies in Gurdwaras as well as for events involving the traditional Sikh Gatka martial art.

About the Offensive Weapons Act:

  • The Offensive Weapons Act covers new offences around possession of certain offensive weapons in public and enforces new restrictions on the online sale of bladed articles and corrosive products.
  • The act is aimed at strengthening existing legislative measures on offensive weapons, focusing on corrosive substances, knives and certain types of firearm.
  • It brings in new laws to ban the sale of corrosive substances to anyone under the age of 18, to target people carrying acid, to make it more difficult for anyone under the age of 18 to buy knives online and to ban certain types of firearms.

What is Kirpan?

  • The Kirpan is a sword or small dagger, originating from the Indian subcontinent, carried by Sikhs.
  • It is also part of a religious commandment given by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, in which he demanded that Sikhs must wear the five articles of faith (the five Ks) at all times, the Kirpan being one of five Ks.
  • The Punjabi word Kirpan has two roots: kirpa-mercy and aanaa-honor.
  • Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a Sant Sipahi or saint-soldier with the courage to defend the rights of all who are wrongfully oppressed or persecuted irrespective of their colour, caste or creed.
  • Kirpans are curved and have a single cutting edge that may be either blunt or sharp.
  • It must be made of steel or iron.

Question:

Q. Which country has passed an amendment- the 'Offensive Weapons Bill', by which Sikhs in the country will be allowed to carry Kirpans and use it during religious and cultural functions?
a. Germany
b. United Kingdom
c. France
d. Canada
U.K. Government allows Sikhs to Carry Kirpans U.K. Government allows Sikhs to Carry Kirpans Reviewed by Neha on May 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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