Sikh student arrested for carrying kirpan at US university


In a shocking incident that occurred in the United States of America, a Sikh student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was arrested on campus for wearing a Kirpan.

The incident was first made public when the student uploaded the incident’s video on Twitter and said that the police had handcuffed him for refusing to let the officer remove his Kirpan from the miyaan.

In the video’s caption, he described his suffering: “I wasn’t going to post this, but I don’t think I will receive any support from @unccharlotte. I was told someone called 911 and reported me, and I got cuffed for “resisting” because I refused to let the officer take my kirpan out of the miyaan.”

The video gained instant traction with many coming to the support of the student and condemning the campus authorities for their ignorance towards other people’s religious beliefs.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Harjinder Singh Dhami took to Twitter to deplore the incident and asked the Indian ambassador in US, Taranjit Singh, and foreign minister S Jaishankar to ensure the religious freedom of the Sikhs in the US.

“We demand an apology from Campus Police and Univ Admn at @unccharlotte that detained a Sikh youth for his Kirpan, a quintessential part of Sikh Kakars. We are in constant touch with @IndianEmbassyUS and @MEAIndia to ensure the Amritdhari student is released with due respect,” Sirsa, a former BJP legislator, said in a tweet.

“I must appreciate the Sikh student who explained the significance of Kirpan with such faith. We demand an apology from @unccharlotte admn on this racial attitude. I also urge @DrSJaishankar Ji to address the issue of discrimination faced by Sikh students at global level,” he added.

Following the uproar, the UNC in a statement apologised for the kind of treatment meted out to the student.

“UNC Charlotte dispatch received a 911 call reporting someone with a knife in the building. Police officers responded to the scene and engaged the individual in question. During this interaction, the individual was placed in handcuffs while officers took possession of the object. The handcuffs were removed after the object was retrieved. Further investigation showed the item was a kirpan, an article of faith in Sikhism,” University chancellor Sharon L Gaber said in a message to the campus community posted on the university’s website,

“State law and University policy prohibit the possession of a knife or other edged instruments on campus, but we will use this as a learning opportunity by engaging in constructive dialogue with Sikh students and employees. Together, we are confident we can find reasonable measures and educational opportunities that both protect the safety of our campus and the religious practices of our community members. Our diversity makes us a better, richer, more successful community.”

“We want every Niner to feel welcomed, supported and safe. We apologise that is not what this young man felt in our union yesterday. We are committed to ensuring it doesn’t happen again,” read the message.