The New Indian Express – Akal Takht rejects made-in-Italy kirpan for baptized* Sikhs

Harpreet Bajwa

Chandigarh, 28 July 2017. The Akal Takht, the highest temporal body of the Sikhs, on Thursday rejected the modified, non-lethal Kirpan (steel sword) manufactured in Italy meant to be carried by baptised Sikhs living in that country. It was presented for approval before the body a few days ago.

In a meeting held by five high priests at the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple complex, the religious leaders concluded that the modified Kirpan made of flexible metal does not adhere to the tenets of Sikh religion.

The production of a non-lethal Kirpan was necessitated after the Italian Supreme Court in May upheld the ban on the Kirpan which was imposed by the Italian government.

The court had observed that migrants must conform to the values of the society they had chosen to settle in. The modified Kirpan has a bending blade and is incapable of injuring anyone.

Sources said that Sukhdev Singh Kang, president of Indian Sikh community in Italy, along with representatives of the Italian company which manufactured this Kirpan, met Jathedar of Akal Takht Gurbachan Singh in June this year and handed him samples of various lengths.

The Italian government has already given its approval to manufacture these Kirpans and they wanted the approval of the Sikh clergy, so that the company could certify the modified Kirpans as safe.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in May this year had stated that it would approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and challenge the order of the Italian Supreme Court.

The SGPC had also taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene in the matter and take it up with their Italian counterparts.

* Baptised is not the right term, initiated is closer and we call the initiated Sikhs Amritdharis.

The Sikh ‘migrants’ come from a tradition that has fought to uphold values like ‘Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood’, these are core European values and core Sikh values !
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