Sikh man asked to take off kirpan in New Zealand bus
The passenger, thought to be in his 20s, was wearing a turban and had a long, curved “sword-like” kirpan strapped behind his back on the left side.world Updated: Jul 26, 2017 22:08 IST
A Sikh man in New Zealand was asked to take off his kirpan and “get out” of a bus when a passenger called police in panic after seeing the ceremonial knife, a media report said on Wednesday.
Police boarded the busy commuter bus in Auckland on Tuesday after the Sikh passenger was seen carrying the ceremonial knife, traditionally worn by Sikhs.
“We looked out the window and we could see and the police car behind us with sirens blaring and armed men all around us. One policeman stormed into the bus with a gun in his hand and said to the guy, Get your hands up so we can see them and get out of the bus,” New Zealand Herald quoted a witness as saying.
The passenger, thought to be in his 20s, was wearing a turban and had a long, curved “sword-like” kirpan strapped behind his back on the left side, which the police removed, said the witness.
A police spokeswoman said officers were called after a member of the public reported seeing the kirpan.
She said the armed offenders squad was not sent and the officers were not armed.
“Police spoke with the man, who is a Sikh. He was in possession of a ceremonial kirpan, which is customary for Sikhs. The man, who is lawfully living in New Zealand, was polite and cooperative and no further action was taken,” the report said.
The spokeswoman said the ceremonial kirpan was not confiscated.
A baptised Sikh has five articles of faith and the kirpan is one of them. The other four articles of faith are - kesh (uncut long hair), kanga (a comb), kara (an iron bracelet) and kachehra (under shorts).