UK Parliament Amends Weapons Bill To Allow Sikhs To Continue Carrying Kirpan

The UK government has amended a new weapons bill going through the parliament to ensure that it would not impact the rights of Sikhs community to possess and supply kirpans, the religious daggers. The Offensive Weapons Bill 2018 completed its various readings in the House of Commons this week and has now moved to the House of Lords for approval. It involves a new offence of possessing certain offensive weapons in public and places new restrictions on the online sales of bladed articles and corrosive products in attempt to crackdown on rising knife and acid-related attacks in the country. In A Major Move, UK Amends Weapons Bill So That Sikhs Can Continue Carrying Kirpan “We have engaged closely with the Sikh community on the issue of kirpans. As a result, we have amended the Bill to ensure that the possession and supply of large kirpans for religious reasons can continue,” a UK Home Office spokesperson said on Thursday. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs led a delegation to the UK Home Office in recent weeks to ensure that the kirpan remains exempt when the new bill becomes law. “I am pleased to see the government amendment and look forward to seeing an accompanying set of documentation, which reflects the importance of not criminalising the Sikh community for the sale or possession of large kirpans,” said Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs. Large kirpans, with blades over 50-cm, are used by the community during religious ceremonies in gurdwaras as well as for ceremonies involving the traditional Sikh Gatka martial art. They would have fallen foul of the new bill on the possession of large blades without the amendment, which has now been agreed.

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