California Passes Bill On Sikh Symbol Kirpan

June 3, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Times of India

The California assembly has passed a bill that makes it mandatory for the state to train law enforcement agencies about the Sikh symbol kirpan.

The bill AB-504, which was passed unanimously by the assembly Monday, will now go to the state senate for its nod before Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs it to make it a law.

Enjoying bipartisan support, the bill was passed 59-0 by the assembly in the California capital of Sacramento.

When it finally becomes a law, it will be the first such legislation in any US state to train law officers about the Sikh religion and kirpan.

Apart from being victims of hate crimes after 9/11, many Sikhs have been stopped at airports and other places for wearing kirpan.

Many of them were also denied entry or arrested for carrying kirpan in public places in violation of concealed weapons laws.

Various Sikh organisations, led by the Sikh Coalition, lobbied with state legislature and senate members to pass the bill introduced by assembly man Warren Furutani of Long Beach.