Sikh Cleric Cleared of Concealed Weapons Charge

December 7, 1999

Source: The Plain Dealer

On December 7, 1999, The Plain Dealer reported that the city of Mentor, Ohio dropped the concealed weapons charge against Gurbachan Singh Bhatia for carrying a kirpan. Through an interpreter, Bhatia stated: "I cried at night when I prayed to God...Since 1962, I have put it on." The kirpan was taken away from Bhatia on September 3rd in a minor traffic accident, when police officers noticed it and arrested him for carrying a concealed weapon. Mentor Prosecutor Ron Graham defended the actions of the police officers, stating that the officers had to react at the moment of discovering the knife and didn't have the time to study its religious meaning. About 15 Sikhs went to the Mentor Municipal Court to show their support for Bhatia.