December 23, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Victoria, Australia (December 23, 2012): As per media reports the Sikh Council of Australia and Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner have objected to the former state government’s amendment preventing a Kirpan, a Sikh ceremonial sword, being worn in schools.
It is notable that the exemption granted to Sikhs as per provisions of The Weapons Act 1990 states – “A Sikh may possess, in a public place, a knife known as a Kirpan to comply with the person’s religious faith.”
However, the amendment now states: “It is not a reasonable excuse to physically possess a knife in a school for genuine religious purposes.”
The Sikh Council and the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner have warned the amendment was discriminatory to ordained Sikhs required to wear the Kirpan.
The Kirpan is a one of the five Ks, necessary for a Sikh to possess as a part of religious duty.
As per a news report by news.com.au: Writing to the Sikh Council of Australia this year, former premier Anna Bligh’s office said: “The Queensland Government concluded that even though there is minimal risk that a Sikh might use their Kirpan to commit an offence in Queensland, the rationale for keeping all schools completely knife-free is strong.”
As per The Australian: “Department of Education, Training and Employment assistant director-general Marg Pethiyagoda said the wearing of a Kirpan at school would be considered case-by-case”.
“When a state school principal becomes aware that a Kirpan carried by a student or staff member on school premises has a sharp edge or is pointed or is being used to threaten or harm . . . the Kirpan may be retained by the principal and the matter referred to the police.” a news report by The Australian reads further.
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