UNITED SIKHSWinner of the Sikhs and Charities Award
May 14, 2011
31st Vaisakh (Samvat 543 Nanakshahi)
Press Release
Having trouble viewing this email? View it on our website.

UNITED SIKHS Calls on Airport Security to Revoke Airside Ban on Kirpan

‘If a Sikh passenger is allowed to wear a Kirpan in the aircraft as provided for by the Indian Constitution, it is hard to accept why a Sikh employee should be banned from wearing a Kirpan at the airside for security reasons when he would have undergone greater security checks,‘ says Mejindarpal Kaur, Legal Director of UNITED SIKHS.

“Staff employed at UK airports, including those working airside, are permitted to wear articles of faith while on duty”: UK Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance on wearing Sikh Articles of Faith.

“Non- Sikh security staff do carry weapons near aircraft. Why are they not considered a security threat compared to Kirpan-wearing Sikh security staff?” questioned Nirmal Singh, an Air India security staff at Amritsar airport who was stopped from working at the airside because he wears a Kirpan.

Amritsar, Panjab – UNITED SIKHS has called on the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), that provides security at all Indian airports, to revoke the ban on employees wearing a Kirpan at the airside at the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport, Amritsar, because it violates their religious rights.

UNITED SIKHS wrote on Friday to the Director General of CISF, N.R. Dass, to ask him revoke the ban that was enforced on 25th April 2011 at the Amritsar airport against all Kirpan wearing Sikhs who work at the airside.

According to a Times of India report on Thursday, commandant Sharad Kumar  said that CISF, on security grounds,  had  banned Nirmal Singh (and other 18 Kirpan wearing Sikh employees working at the airside of  the Amritsar Airport) from wearing a Kirpan, which, an Amritdhari Sikh is mandated to wear at all times.

Nirmal Singh, 37, an Air India security staff who has been wearing the Kirpan whilst working at the Amritsar airport since 2001, told UNITED SIKHS, “There is no such ban at any other Indian airport and this ban at the Amritsar airport is unfair because it singles out Sikh employees as a security concern.”

 “The Sikh community shares the public’s concern with national security, however, the ban of the Kirpan for airside employees at Amritsar airport is discriminatory because no such security threat is suspected for non Sikh airside security staff  who carry weapons near the aircraft,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS legal director.

“Further, we cannot accept an abrogation of a Sikh’s constitutional right under article 25 (2) (b) of the Indian constitution, under which a Sikh has a right to wear a Kirpan at all times,” said Mejindarpal Kaur.

This right is reflected in the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Circular no.8/99 dated 28.4.99 (annexure-II), which allows Sikh passengers to carry a Kirpan with them on board domestic flights.

Further, in the UK, Sikh airport employees are permitted to wear the Kirpan at the airside. Heathrow airport, a highly security sensitive airport, allows Sikhs their religious right to wear the Kirpan.  See page 20 of the Guidance for wearing the Kirpan  issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission of the UK at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/publications/sikh_articles_of_faith_guidance_final.pdf

“The statistics too do not favour CISF’s decision to ban the Kirpan. There are about 100 Kirpan wearing Sikhs who work at the airside of the Heathrow airport. However, there are only some 19 Kirpan wearing Sikhs who work at the airside at the Amritsar airport, Mejindarpal Kaur added.

You may read a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS’ advocacy for the wearing of Sikh articles of faith at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-17-04-2011-00.html

Issued by:
Daljit Singh
+91 9779957973


Follow us on Twitter Twitter  Connect on Facebook Facebook Read Our Blog Blog

You may read a Panjabi translation of this PR here

Protect Our Identity (POI) is an ongoing international campaign launched by UNITED SIKHS in August 2010 . It focuses on the need to protect the Sikh community's right to express its religious identity.  Initiatives under the POI campaign include:

UNITED SIKHS is currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to spread the message of the campaign within their own communities. To join or contribute to the campaign, volunteer or donate to UNITED SIKHS.

Contact Us

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the UNITED SIKHS, which will provide immediate relief and support to those in need. You may donate online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate  or send your donations to a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you, whose details can be found at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php .

Ordinarily only 10 percent of your donation is spent on admin costs.


To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.