Scottish Sikhs rejoice as historic Agreement is signed to allow Kirpans in Scottish courts

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Scottish Sikhs signed an historic Agreement at Edinburgh’s Parliament House enabling Sikhs to wear their full Articles of Faith, including the Kirpan in Scottish courts.

Sikh representatives from all over Scotland worked in partnership with Scottish Courts Services over a period of 12 months to reach a solution which protects Sikh values and safety in courts.

The Agreement was initiated as a result of Mr Vijay Singh, an Edinburgh resident, who was refused entry into a Scottish court due to the wearing of the Kirpan. His efforts to engage and educate were recognised at the event and Mr Vijay Singh was also a signatory to the Agreement.

Mr Surjit Singh Chowdhary, President of Glasgow Gurdwaras Council who spearheaded this effort said,

“This Agreement reflects the partnership approach the Scottish Sikh community adopts when civil and religious rights are under threat. Scottish Sikhs are proud to have played a positive role to influence civic society and helped to create a more accessible and inclusive Scotland for all which echoes the Sikh values of equality, humanity and justice. Whilst this is a step forward, there is more to be done to educate all pockets of life in Scotland on the Sikh Articles of Faith.”

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill said:

“The Scottish Government values and appreciates the contribution that our faith communities make to enrich Scotland socially, culturally and economically. Our Sikh community is a vital part of our cultural heritage and continues to play an important and valued part in our national life.

“I welcome this agreement between the Sikh community and the Scottish Court Service, which now enables Sikhs to wear the Kirpan in court buildings in Scotland. This guidance will help ensure safety is balanced with the right of Sikhs to express their faith.”

 

NOTES

The Agreement was signed on Monday 15th July 2013 at the Parliament House in Edinburgh.

Download the Kirpan Agreement (English) | Kirpan Agreement (Panjabi)

Click here for Photos

Contact Charandeep Singh on glasgowgurdwara@hotmail.co.uk

Full details on the Sikh Articles of Faith can be found here: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/scotland/key-projects-in-scotland/archived-projects-in-scotland/sikh-articles-of-faith-guidance/