New Delhi: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is distraught at the Australian government’s order to ban Sikhs’ religious symbol ‘kirpan’ at government schools in the New South Wales region.
SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur termed the decision announced by Australia’s Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell to ban wearing of ‘kirpan’ by Sikh children in schools as ‘unfortunate and against religious freedom’.
The SGPC has urged the Indian government and the Indian Ambassador to Australia to take up the matter with Australian government and make efforts to revoke this decision. SGPC stated that will write letters to the governments of India and Australia in this regard, soon.
Kaur said, “The government there should have taken proper advice from the representative bodies of the Sikh community before deciding to ban the ‘kirpan’. It is one of the five kakaars (symbols of faith) of Sikhism. For an Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh, ‘Kirpan’ is an integral part of his body. It has been worn by Sikhs for over 300 years.”
She said it is believed that the education minister had an online meeting with two members of the Sikh community wherein she informed them about the ban. However, no discussion had been held with the Sikh community before the decision was taken.
Kaur said, “The ‘kirpan’ is not a knife or a dagger but for the Sikhs it is a symbol of faith with deep meaning and purpose. And this decision of ban on kirpan has deeply hurt the minds of the Sikh community at home and abroad and is being widely opposed.”
As per the information, the ban on ‘kirpan’ in public schools in New South Wales will come into effect from May 19, Wednesday. The ban was imposed following an incident at a Sydney school on May 6, 2021, when a 14-year-old Sikh student who had been bullied used his kirpan and ended up injured another student.