London, Nov 6, 2023- A British Sikh, who was summoned to serve as a juror at a crown court, has said that a security guard did not let him in due to his kirpan — a religious dagger which has to be carried at all times by baptised Sikhs.
Jatinder Singh said he felt “embarrassed and discriminated against” after he was prevented from taking part in jury service at the Birmingham Crown Court recently, the BBC reported.
Singh, who was the president at Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick and secretary general of the Sikh Council UK, said this was the second time he was called for the jury service.
“The security guard said I could take (my kirpan) off and leave it with him and collect it at the end of the day,” Singh told BBC News, adding that during the first time service he faced no issues.
“I felt like a child who had gone to school and taken something they shouldn’t and had it confiscated. To have that happen to me, I felt embarrassed, I felt discriminated against, I didn’t expect it to happen to me.”
Following the incident, the Sikh Federation UK wrote to Justice Minister Alex Chalk asking him to condemn the way Singh was treated.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said Singh was released from his duties as there was a surplus of required jurors.
Singh said he adhered to MoJ guidelines for Sikh community members wishing to enter a court building, which allows bringing in a kirpan not more than six inches long (15 cm) and with a blade no more than five inches (12 cm) in length.
Meanwhile, His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service apologised to Singh “for any distress caused”, and said that they have reminded their contracted security officers of the correct steps to be taken to prevent such incidents from happening again. (Agency)