California will have an Act telling people why Sikhs wear Kirpans

June 3rd, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by ANI  

By Ravinder Singh Robin

New Delhi. June 3, 2009 (ANI) To prevent incidents of mistaken identity of Sikhs in the United States, the California State Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a proposed law which would educate law enforcement personnel about Sikhs and Kirpans.

The Bill now goes on for a vote by the California State Senate, and then to the Governor’s Desk to be signed into law.

Since the twin tower attacks on 9/11, many members of Sikh community living in the United States have been attacked following mistaken Identity.

To make their citizen aware about the Sikhs and their custom various, efforts were being made by various Sikh communities along with number of state government departments.

According to Prabhjot Singh, Sikh Coalition Board Chairman the Assembly vote passed 59-0 with nobody opposing the legislation. Extensive lobbying efforts led by the Sikh Coalition and local Sangat members resulted in bipartisan support for this legislation claimed Prabjot.

Established immediately following the 9/11 attacks to voice the concerns of Sikhs, the Sikh Coalition is focused on protecting Sikh civil/human rights through legal advocacy and community empowerment.

Singh said that the California State Assembly, and Assembly member Warren Furutani, in particular, should be commended for their hard work and pioneering spirit in supporting this Bill.

The Bill was introduced by Assembly member Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach) in February 2009.

“It is the Legislature’s goal to promote education and awareness of the carrying of the Kirpan by Sikhs in California,” states the Bill.

Prabjot said that Under Furutani guidance, the bill was passed unanimously through both the Public Safety Committee and the Appropriations Committee of the State Assembly and they thanks Assembly member Furutani for his strong leadership on this issue.

The bill will now make its way to the Senate.

There, it will first be voted on by the Public Safety Committee and thenby the Appropriations Committee before making it to the Senate floor for a full vote in September. Once the Bill is passed by the Senate, it will end up on the desk of Governor Schwarzeneger to be signed into law.

Speaking over phone from San Francisco Dr. Pritpal Singh, convener American Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (AGPC) hailed the Assembly for passing the bill that would further help to educate people about the Sikh community.

Singh said that the proposed law would create and include training aboutthe Kirpan in the state curriculum for law enforcement officer training. The training would advise officers about “how to recognize and interact with persons carrying a Kirpan.”

Sikhs carry Kirpans following Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct).

“after being educated about the kirpan and its religious significance will decrease the number of unwanted arrests”, Dr. Pritpal said. (ANI)

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