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Legal Sikh Plans To Sue Lahore High Court Security Over Religious Freedom

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Ajeet Singh stopped from bringing ceremonial Sikh sword onto premises

LAHORE: A Sikh man is planning to file a writ petition against Lahore High Court (LHC) security personnel after he was stopped from entering the court premises with his kirpaan, the ceremonial Sikh sword.

Ajeet Singh, who was planning to meet with his lawyer at the LHC on Wednesday, exchanged angry words with guards after he was asked to remove his kirpaan at the entrance security gate. He refused and eventually left without going inside.

A security official at the LHC said that guards had been instructed not to let anyone enter with weapons, including blades. He said even policemen had to remove their weapons at the security posts at all four entry points of the LHC.

But Singh said that a Sikh never removed his kirpaan and asking him to do so was asking him to violate his own religion. “I cannot part from my kirpaan as according to my religion it is part of my body,” he said.

“I do no take it off while sleeping or while bathing. How can they force me to remove it? I have engaged a lawyer to file a writ petition against this discriminatory behaviour of the LHC security personnel.”

Singh said even the most security-conscious countries had accepted that Sikhs could carry the ceremonial swords with them. “Sikhs carry their kirpaans in airports and airplanes and in offices all over the world. I entered the White House with my kirpaan and no one considered it a security threat.” Singh had wanted to see his lawyer to file a writ petition to stop his removal as head granthi of Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib. He said he had been illegally removed from the post. A security official at the LHC said that no Sikh had previously been stopped from entering the premises with his kirpaan. Another security person said that it used to be his job to shadow and keep a discrete eye on Sikhs who entered the High Court building. “Sikh advocates would come to the LHC to meet other lawyers and they were never asked to remove their kirpaans,” he said.

Advocate Ali Imran Naqvi, Singh’s lawyer, told The Express Tribune that he was preparing the petition and would file it in a couple of days.

“It is a violation of my client’s religious and basic rights to make him remove the kirpaan,” he said. “Sikhs never misuse the kirpaan and accusing them of misusing it is an insult to their religious sentiments.” DSP Aizaz Hussain, the LHC security officer, said he had no knowledge of the incident in question.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2010.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/84606/sikh-plans-to-sue-lahore-high-court-security-over-religious-freedom/
 

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