Sikhs now allowed to carry kirpans in UK

The government of the United Kingdom (UK) has recently passed an amendment which legalizes the possession of kirpans by the Sikhs and the use of it during religious occasions. Kirpans are small daggers carried by the Sikhs since it is a part of their religious commandment given by their preacher Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. According to the commandment, the Sikhs must always wear five articles of faith, the kirpan being one of them. The word kirpan comes from ‘Kirpa’ meaning mercy and ‘aanaa’ meaning dignity. 'The Offensive Weapons Bill' which regulates the rising knife crime in the UK was amended and became an act after getting the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. UK Home Office spokesperson said, "We have engaged closely with the Sikh community on the issue of kirpans. As a result, we have amended the Bill to ensure that the possession and supply of large kirpans for religious reasons can continue". Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs said, "I am pleased to see the government amendment which reflects the importance of not criminalizing the Sikh community for the sale or possession of large kirpans". The new law would henceforth safeguard the sale, possession and use of kirpans during traditional Sikh festivals.

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