Sikh aviation sector employees allowed to carry kirpan within airports

New Delhi: Aviation security regulator BCAS has permitted Sikh aviation sector employees to carry kirpan on person within the airport premises, a document stated.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) order on March 4, banning Sikh aviation sector employees from carrying kirpan on person within any Indian airport premises, was criticised by leading Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Subsequently, on March 12, the BCAS removed the ban.

Kirpan, a curved dagger, has to be worn next to the body in Sikh religion.

In the March 4 order, the BCAS said, “Kirpan may be carried only by a Sikh passenger, on his person, provided the length of the blade does not exceed six inches and the total length does not exceed nine inches.”

Kirpan is allowed while travelling by air on Indian aircraft within India, it noted.

“This exception shall be for Sikh passengers only as stated above. And, no stakeholder or its employee at airport (including Sikh) and working in any terminal, domestic or international, shall be allowed to carry Kirpan on person,” it added.

On March 9, SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, stating that the March 4 order was an attack on Sikh rights.

Therefore, on March 12, the BCAS issued a corrigendum to the March 4 order.

The corrigendum removed the paragraph that prohibited Sikh employees to bring kirpan at any airport.

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