Sikh aviation staffers can now carry kirpans at Indian airports

Aviation security regulator Bureau of Civil Aviation Security {BCAS} has in a new order permitted Sikh aviation sector employees to carry the kirpan within airport premises. The latest order has come after an earlier March 4 order by the Ministry of Civil Aviation {MoCA} was met with severe criticism from Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee {SGPC}.

While allowing Sikh passengers to carry the kirpan of 9-inch total length in domestic flights, the earlier order had disallowed Sikh aviation sector employees from wearing a kirpan.

In the March 4 order, the BCAS said, “Kirpan may be carried only by a Sikh passenger, on his person, provided the length of the blade does not exceed six inches and the total length does not exceed nine inches.”

“This exception shall be for Sikh passengers only as stated above. And, no stakeholder or its employee at the airport (including Sikh) and working in any terminal, domestic or international, shall be allowed to carry Kirpan on person,” it added.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has modified its recent order, which restricted Sikh employees at the airports from wearing kirpan.

The agency issued a corrigendum to the March 4 order, in which it said, “Kirpan may be carried by a Sikh passenger provided the length of its blade does not exceed 15.24 cms (6 inches) and the total length of the 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).”

It drops the earlier clause that prohibited Sikh employees from wearing a kirpan.

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted while thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia for taking “swift action.”

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