The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security allowed Sikh employees to carry a kirpan – a curved dagger – within airport premises, PTI reported on Monday. It amended a March 4 order that only allowed Sikh passengers to carry the daggers.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee says the kirpan is one of the five symbols of faith in the Sikh religion.
The March 4 order had stated that the Sikh passengers could carry the kirpan “provided the length of the blade does not exceed 15.24 cm [6 inches]; and the total length of the kirpan does not exceed 22.86 cm [9 inches]”, reported ANI.
On Monday the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had said that its president, Harjinder Singh Dhami, had on March 9 written to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia seeking the withdrawal of the order.
Dhami, in his letter, had said the decision to ban the kirpan from airport premises was an “attack on religious freedom” of Sikhs. He had also asked the Indian government to ensure that the religious freedom of every citizen is preserved.
Sandeep Singh Gumtala, of the non-governmental organisation Amritsar Vikas Manch, asked how Sikh employees could be barred from wearing the kirpan if Sikh passengers were allowed to carry the dagger on domestic flights, according to The Tribune.
On March 12, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued a corrigendum to the previous order dropping the clause which barred Sikh employees in the aviation sector from carrying the kirpan on airport premises, according to ANI.