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Sikh employees now allowed to carry Kirpan at domestic airports and on flights; Centre modifies order

New Delhi: After a decision by the Union government barring Sikh employees wearing kirpan (Sikh religious symbol) from performing duties at airports across the country drew the ire of the community, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has modified a previous order relating to the matter. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security comes under the purview of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted this morning a picture of the modified order and expressed gratitude to PM Modi and Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia. Singh said airport Sikh employees and passengers can both now carry kirpan at Indian airports. “Recent order of @MoCA_GoI restricting Sikh Employees from carrying kirpan at airport during duty has bn changed. The corrigendum removed objectionable restriction. Employees (& passengers) can carry Kripan at Indian airports Thanking @PMOIndia & @JM_Scindia Ji for swift action (sic),” the BJP leader’s tweet read. The modified order issued on March 12 read: “Kirpan may be carried by a Sikh passenger, on his person, provided the length of its blade does not exceed 15.24 cms (6 inches); and the total length of a Kirpan does not exceed 22.86 cms (9 inches). It is allowed while traveling by air on Indian aircraft within India (domestic routes of fully domestic flights only).” Related NewsIndia to resume commercial international flights from March 27Operation Ganga: More than 17,000 Indians have been brought backThe order removed the previously-mentioned guideline that “no stakeholder or its employee at airport (including Sikh) and working in any terminal, domestic or international, shall be allowed to carry Kirpan on person”.

Recent order of @MoCA_GoI restricting Sikh Employees from carrying kirpan at airport during duty has bn changed. Th…— ANI (@ANI) Mar 14, 2022Last week, a Sikh employee was prevented from performing duty at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar. In response to the incident, Amritsar airport director VK Seth had said, “As per the fresh guidelines issued by the director-general (DG), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), no employee is allowed to wear ‘kirpan’ while performing duty. We respect the religious sentiments of everyone but the guidelines are applicable to everyone.” The president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Harjinder Singh Dhami, had described the recent notification issued by the BCAS as an “attack” on Sikh rights, reported the Hindustan Times. In a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on March 4, Dhami had expressed a strong objection to this order and requested its immediate withdrawal. “In their own country, this discrimination is a major attack on the religious freedom of the Sikhs, which will never be allowed to be implemented. The Centre should never forget that the Sikhs have remained at the forefront in making sacrifices for the freedom of this country and if the culture of the country survives today, it is because of the Sikhs,” Dhami had said. He had added: “The governments should refrain from adopting such policies which hurts the religious sentiments of the Sikhs.”

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