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Prosecutor drops charges against Sikh arrested for wearing kirpan in US
July 8, 2008


The prosecution dropped charges against Sachdev Singh, 47-year-old truck driver, for wearing kirpan (a blade that is carried by the Sikhs as an article of faith), after meeting him with UNITED SIKHS attorney Jaspreet Singh, at the State of Connecticut Superior Court, Stamford, CT, USA on Monday.


Jaspreet Singh told Punjab over the phone from USA, "UNITED SIKHS had telephoned and written to State Attorney David Cohen, explaining the significance of kirpan as an article of faith and detailing prior precedent in various courts that recognized a Sikh's right to carry the kirpan. The letter also said that Sachdev Singh should not be prosecuted as the blade he was carrying was dull and could not cause injury."

After examining and testing the kirpan in question, the prosecutor, Steve Weiss, "found that the edge of the kirpan's blade was dull and decided that the charges should be dropped. At the same time, as we are grateful to the prosecutor for allowing good sense to prevail, UNITED SIKHS calls on the State to grant Sikhs a statutory right to wear a kirpan, to end harassment faced by Sikhs," Jaspreet added.

UNITED SIKHS, he said, would approach the US Government to set up norms for wearing kirpan by the Sikhs as an article of faith. He called upon the State to grant Sikhs a statutory right to wear kirpan to end harassment faced by the Sikhs.

"We are hopeful that the law enforcement agencies will recognize the inherent religious nature of the kirpan and also recognize that those who carry the kirpan only as a symbol of faith should not be subjected to prosecution.", he added.

UNITED SIKHS has written to the Connecticut State Judicial Marshal's Office to ensure that incidents like this one did not occur again, and to formulate a training policy for marshals regarding the articles of faith and proper treatment of a Sikh and his or her articles of faith.

On June 18, 2008, Sachdev Singh was arrested and his kirpan and dastaar (Sikh turban) were forcibly removed when he attempted to enter the State of Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford to contest a traffic violation. The arrest occurred soon after Sachdev entered the courthouse as he was passing through security that is handled by the Connecticut Judicial State Marshals.

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