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Belgian Police: Yes for Swiss Knife No For Sikh Kirpan


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Press Release

07 March 2005

Belgian Police: Yes for Swiss Knife No For Sikh Kirpan on Eurostar

London—A Sikh woman who had her Kirpan confiscated by Belgian police as she was checking in to travel on the Eurostar train to London today was told that her article of faith was a prohibited weapon whereas a passenger was allowed to carry a Swiss knife.

"In Brussels your Kirpan is a prohibited weapon even if in London the law allows you to wear it in public places. We allow Eurostar passengers to carry a Swiss knife because it is made differently," said Inspector Vamspauweh who detained Mejindarpal Kaur, who was travelling from Brussels after an interfaith seminar organised by the Church of Scientology International.

"I was taken aback because I had travelled on Eurostar from London to Brussels this weekend and on several occasions to Paris when I was allowed to wear my Kirpan," said Mejindarpal Kaur.

"I explained to the Inspector that I have never and would never use my Kirpan to harm someone and hence it is not an offensive weapon," she added. A Kirpan is a scimitar, which is one of the five articles of faith that practicing Sikhs wear at all times as a commitment of their faith.

"If and when the European Constitution is adopted by the European Union will people be allowed to practise their faith uniformly throughout Europe?" asks Mejindarpal Kaur, director of UNITED SIKHS, a global human development organisation which has been in the forefront of a campaign against the ban on articles of faith in schools in France.

London Member of European Parliament Baroness Sarah Ludford said this in response to the Kirpan incident today:

"The potential conflict with essential security controls of Sikhs wearing a Kirpan is an example of the need for European-level dialogue on the various religious and cultural needs for European citizens. It is the case that the European Convention on Human Rights clause on respect for freedom of religion to which Belgium and other EU states are subject (and the similar provision in the European Constitution's Charter for Fundamental Rights) allows derogation in the interests of public safety.

But there needs to be a serious discussion about whether there are measures which could reconcile Sikh religious convictions on wearing the kirpan with a general security ban on carrying weapons."

A fortnight ago, Baroness Sarah Ludford of the Liberal Democrat party jointly tabled a cross-party declaration at the European Parliament on the Religious Rights and Freedoms in France and throughout the European Union. See:

http://www.europarl.eu.int/Declaration/document/

2005/P6_DCL(2005)0005/P6_DCL(2005)0005_EN.doc

The incident in Brussels Midi Station started when the metal detector bleeped and Mejindarpal Kaur pointed to her Kirpan and was asked to hand it over. She was then marched down to the police area with no explanation as to what was happening.

Mejindarpal Kaur asked an officer what was going on and he replied, "What do you think is going on? Is this a circus? You are walking around with a knife."

I protested that it was not a knife and that I wish to explain. The investigating inspector recorded the following statement from Mejindarpal Kaur: "Today during the luggage-check at the departure of the Eurostar train to London I was found in possession of a Kirpan. I was wearing it around my waist. This is an article of faith that I wear on me all the time. I understand that the world is gripped in fear so I have allowed the officer to take it off me. In the UK, where I live, the law allows me to wear it in public places. When I started my journey (on Eurostar) from London this time and many times before to Paris I have never been prevented from wearing my Kirpan during my journey. I therefore did not remove it and pack it in my main luggage like I do when I take an airline flight. I would like to explain to the authorities why I would like this Kirpan returned to me and why this incident should not create a bad record for me. It is ironic that I was visiting Belgium for an interfaith seminar when I explained to my colleagues from the Church of scientology what my Kirpan means and they were in admiration of my Faith. I hope one day the Belgian Parliament like the UK Parliament would allow Sikhs to wear their Kirpan in public places as an article of their faith. I have explained to the officer who takes this statement why I wear a Kirpan: that it is a commitment of my faith in the truth. The officer explained to me that according to Belgian law it was considered a forbidden weapon and that it was being confiscated."

After the Inspector made arrangements for Mejindarpal Kaur to take the next train back to London, they parted on a friendly note. The Inspector commented: "Are you saying that the Belgian parliament should allow you to wear the Kirpan but not allow others to carry knives".

"I smiled at him and I was pleased that he was no longer calling my Kirpan a knife. However, I knew that my work was cut out and that we had to work hard to have a healthy debate in the European parliament on the Right to Difference, which should support the righ to practice one's religion," said Mejindarpal Kaur referring to UNITED SIKHS' support for the MEPs declaration on the European declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms.

Inquiries: mejindarpal.kaur@unitedsikhs.org

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nice!.. did u order it off the net?

Yea, I ordered it from www.victorinoxindia.com last October. They don’t have them on sale anymore but according to a email I got not long ago they have some new ones coming in soon (with ‘different cover designs’) which will be available from the same website. Just check the site every so often to see when they are available.

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I wonder if Mejindarpal Kaur knows how to use and look after her "Sikh Kirpan".I wonder if she actually does wear a Kirpan or just a pathetic piece of metal not even fit to chop onions.

Also why does a Kirpan have to be exclusively a "Sikh" weapon.It's like as if the Kirpan never existed before these "Sikhs" came along.Oh well, Durga Rani has always had a Kirpan.And She knows how to use it.

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I wonder if Mejindarpal Kaur knows how to use and look after her "Sikh Kirpan".I wonder if she actually does wear a Kirpan or just a pathetic piece of metal not even fit to chop onions.

Hari - I have met Penji a number of times and its NO its NOT a pathetic piece of metal! You can question her yourself in the case of knowing how to use and look after her kirpan - i suspect that she does! - her email address is at the bottom of the article.

Penji is one of the people at the forefront of putting continuous pressure on the European Union and French government in the case of the ban on religious articles in France.

As part of United Sikhs, she is leading the way to take to the government to court and she played a massive role in setting up the Ghania project in response to the Tsunami.

Penji also helps many sikh societies, not only in London and Europe, but across the world - New York, Malaysia, India to name just a few.

I hope that information provides a useful background to make a more constructive view point.

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Had a look at one of these kirpans (one of the lads brought his one into the Akhara). The blade is made of very good steel and can be sharpened well. But thats about it...handle looks tacky, cheap, and its not ideal grip for combat. Then again, the handle could be replaced by a custom one made from wood or resin with better grips and a less "I have a new kirpan" look - as long as the blade tang is long enough to be secured.

However, despite this, it beats the "Taksali" and SGPC versions, and those distributed by the Sikh Missionary. Then again, a blunt spoon could cause more damage than the Sikh Missionary kirpans.

The Budha Dal daggers/kirpans are still top notch - well designed, solid blades and handles, good steel that can be sharpened well, armour piercing, and come in a vast array of sizes and shapes.

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the blade is deffo worth the money. the handle is crap. and the new cases slim line shape is excellent. but from the pictures the material and colours look really crap. whats the point in making a good blade and giving it a shit case and handle. but yes true it beats the takshalli/sgpc/sikh/ blah blah kirpan any day.

i would buy the blade for the metal and the shape. there r many other designs of kards(knives) in the world. much beta than the normal shape. search on ebay u'll know what i mean.

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metallurgy

my english is bad but thats the kind of stuff u should get into.check the spelling. its all about metals and stuff. thats if u serious into that kind of stuff. go to amazon and u can buy enough books on swords and makings etc etc.

k desi well this site www.akaalarms.com is excellent. and the way this dude takes his pictures r much beta than any other site.

In india u want anything made lol well its a laugh over there. ppl there do have skill. i mean just like a handful. the rest r just kids that have been taught be it whatever age. another bad thing is the metal. u can't get any good metal. but there is that 1 place where guru ji went some town in punjab. The metal/work in that town will be famous. sorry i 4got what that town is called they have good metals anyways.

so if u can get some1 who can make the stuff and give them the good materials i'm sure u can get any shape u want.rajstan and marastra is a laugh to. but then again india is big. u got time to travel. then do so and hunt the good blacksmiths down.

japan is excellent but alot of con artist but the for good stuff its easy $3,000-$6,000. hand made stuff.

china is like india pendus everywhere but then again u do have skilled ppl there.

North amercia do also have it places. main place ppl wouldn't even think about is hollywood. cus for films they need the weapons so u can get a few contacts there but that alls $$$$$. texas and other kinda rural sides of u.s have blacksmiths to kinda from what i've heard but i wouldn't know about texas that much. ask the gorai sikhs there. not saying texas is rural but u guys know whati mean.

uk well look at brave heart. mel gibson and crew got all them shaster made in north uk where there are few black simths but once again its all about £££££.

shapes and sizes u pick what u want. from desi or middle eastern or (oriental)shasters. its all good. its all the same.

i rather have the rambo blade compared to the normal sikh shape.

hey yep don't 4got abot the glock and the deagles.

The MAIN place for all info is the internet. there is enough on it just search. lol ive heard u can even get documents to make bombs lol sheet enough crazy manz out there. yeah but blades everything is on the net to get u started.

oh and its been a few years since 9/11 so i duno what the the airplanes and import and export say nowadays about weapons hunna. but b4 9/11 it was all good. thank god for me. 8)

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