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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Kirpan row: Rajasthan college draws SGPC ire

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 31, 2014
First Published: 22:18 IST(31/7/2014) | Last Updated: 11:06 IST(1/8/2014)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has sought strict action against the management of a college in Kota (Rajasthan), which debarred an ‘amritdhari’ (baptised) Sikh student from taking a written entrance test as he was wearing the kirpan (small sword).

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In a letter addressed to the district magistrate, Kota, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar on Thursday sought an inquiry into the recent incident involving Jagwinder Singh, the Sikh student. The authorities did not permit him entry on ‘security grounds’ after he refused to take off the kirpan, one of the five symbols of the Sikh faith.

“An inquiry followed by strict action against the principal and other authorities of the college (Prashant Vidya Mandir) is the need of the hour as the case is a clear infringement on the constitutional and fundamental right of worship of religion… It has not only hurt the sentiments of the student and his parents but also of the Sikh community,” the letter said.

In a separate letter addressed to the college principal, Makkar has sought an unconditional apology for hurting the student’s religious sentiments. He also demanded that the college authorities make arrangements so that the student can take the entrance exam.

In the two letters, Makkar explained the importance of the Sikh religious symbols, including the kirpan. He said it was strange that such an incident had happened in India and at a time when several countries had started permitting the wearing of the kirpan in public places and at the workplace.

Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh also expressed serious concern over the incident. He pointed out that this was a violation of a person’s religious rights.

The jathedar, too, demanded action against the college authorities. He said the principal should tender an apology to the student and his parents.

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