A Sikh man has claimed that he was denied entry to a basketball match in the US because he was carrying a ‘kirpan’ — a small dagger, which practising Sikhs are required to carry at all times along with other articles of faith.
Mandeep Singh had gone to watch a basketball match involving the NBA team Sacramento Kings in California.
Sharing his photos from outside the venue from his Twitter handle, Singh said he spoke to multiple people regarding the issue, which he called “religious discrimination”, but to no avail.
“Unfortunate experiencing religious discrimination and being denied entry at the @SacramentoKings game tonight b/c Im #Sikh. Wouldn’t let me in bc of #kirpan. Spoke w/ multiple people up the security chain and none seem to understand. Been a fan since 96. Not so much anymore,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
In continuation of his tweet, he said he went because he received an email from Sacramento Kings last week inviting him to a game as “community ambassadors”.
“Working as a community organizer with the Jakara Movement, I’m intimately involved with our #Sikh Community in #Sacramento. We have participated in Sikh Awareness nights.A@SacramentoKings JUST emailed us last week to come table at the Knicks game to be community ambassadors.”
Flagging off Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento council member Katie Valenzuela in his tweet, he said: “Not taking my kirpan off for the @SacramentoKings…ABtw, this is how your city treats its Sikh Community.”
Singh’s tweet invited sharp reactions from the twitterati with one of the users saying: “It will never be our land and their rules will always stand.”
“I would hope the Kings don’t discriminate based on religion. I’ve seen the Kings represent Sikhs with Sikh Heritage Night and I think it’s great. I think the Kings didn’t allow your Kirpan in for public safety reasons, not because of religious discrimination,” another user wrote.
The incident comes after a Sikh student at the University of North Carolina was arrested on campus last year for wearing the ceremonial dagger.
Describing his suffering, the student wrote: “I wasn’t going to post this, but I don’t think I will receive any support from @unccharlotte. I was told someone called 911 and reported me, and I got cuffed for ‘resisting’ because I refused to let the officer take my kirpan out of the miyaan.”
The amritdhari, or baptised, Sikhs are required to carry five articles of the faith — kesh (uncut hair), kara (steel bracelet), kanga (small comb), kachera (undershorts) and a kirpan (resembling a knife or sword).