A bill that makes mandatory the sensitisation and education of law enforcement officials about the religious beliefs of Sikhs, particularly the kirpan, has been unanimously passed by the California State Assembly.
Introduced after incidences of harassment of the community members on account of their carrying a kirpan came to light, the bill will now go to the State Senate before it could be signed into law by the Governor.
If passed by the Senate, the Kirpan Education Bill would be the first law in the US pertaining specifically to the Sikh religious symbol kirpan.
The bill AB 504 was introduced in February this year by Assemblymen Warren Furutani, and aims to sensitise law enforcement officials about Sikhs and their religious symbols.
Members of the Sikh community became victims of hate crimes after September 11, 2001 attack on the US.
There have also been incidences of Sikhs being stopped by security officials at airports and other places for carrying a kirpan.
“It is the Legislature’s goal to promote education and awareness of the carrying of kirpan by Sikhs in California,” the bill, that was passed 59-0 in the Assembly, says.