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At London Olympics, Kirpan will be presented at security, but not unsheathed

Sikh athletes and spectators won’t have to leave behind their ceremonial daggers at the Olympic venues next year.

Organisers LOCOG said they will be allowed to wear the ceremonial daggers into the venues next year. The assertion is significant as intense security arrangements are being made for the games. Wearing the Kirpan, along with other articles of faith, is an important part of observing religion for baptized Sikhs.

"We want to make sure the Games are accessible to everyone," a spokesperson for organisers LOCOG said.

"The policy has been set by the LOCOG security team, who have liaised with wider stakeholders.

Keeping in view the religious sentiments of the Sikh community, the Kirpan or the ceremonial dagger will be presented at security, but it will not be unsheathed.

The Kirpan would have to be worn beneath clothing. The Sikhs carrying it would also have to demonstrate the four other articles of their faith they wear at all times.

Considering the fact that Britain boasts of having the largest Sikh community outside of India with 336,000 followers recorded in a 2001 census, the decision is being seen as a welcome step. The Olympics are scheduled to start on July 27 next year.

The Kirpan, carried by orthodox Sikhs, is a religious commandment given by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikhism, at the Baisakhi Amrit Sanchar, a holy religious ceremony that formally baptizes a Sikh, in CE 1699.

All baptized Sikhs or Khalsas must wear a Kirpan at all times.

Although not all those who identify themselves as Sikhs carry a kirpan, it is one of the five articles of faith required to be worn by orthodox Sikhs.

 

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