A prominent US university has announced that it would permit Sikh students to wear a kirpan, a religious article in Sikhism on campus. The news comes two months after a Sikh student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was allegedly detained on the campus for wearing a Kirpan.
The incident drew huge criticism after the video went viral on social media. It was initially shared by the student, who posted it on Twitter saying that the police had handcuffed him for refusing to let the officer remove his kirpan.
US university permits kirpan on campus
The University of North Carolina in a statement on Thursday said that the school’s policy will allow students to wear kirpans on campus as long as the blade length is under 3 inches and is “worn close to the body in a sheath at all times.” The statement released was signed by Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber and Chief Diversity Officer Brandon L. Wolfe said the ruling was effective immediately.
“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with support from Institutional Integrity, also conducted additional awareness training this week with our police department and will continue its work to expand our cultural education and training opportunities for all of campus,” the statement said.
“Over the past several weeks, we have engaged in dialogue with representatives from the local and global Sikh communities about how we could modify University policies to honour the tenets of religious freedom while protecting the safety of our campus,” the statement further added.
The university thanked Sikh leaders, including nonprofit organisations The Sikh Coalition and the Global Sikh Council, who provided expertise and perspective to help with the policy change.
In September, a Sikh student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was arrested on campus for wearing a Kirpan. An upset social media user wrote that it was “very unfortunate that you got arrested with no provocation or threats made. Many Americans legally carry small handguns in their holsters and they don’t get arrested. I hope the complaint gets dismissed & an apology is issued.”
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