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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Religious Freedoms Allegedly Denied to Sikh Prisoner

According to City Limits, Navdeep Singh, a 28 year-old Sikh who is currently in New York's Fishkill Correctional Facility, is suing the State Department of Correctional Services for deprivations to his right to practice his faith in prison. In particular:
Navdeep... said prison officials dumped his underwear in the garbage when he arrived, despite his protestations that it was a sacred item. Long underwear called kacchera is worn by devout Sikhs to reinforce their vow of abstinence. He said he has also been denied access to religious items Sikhs are expected to carry with them at all times, including a thin steel bracelet symbolizing bondage to truth, a wooden comb and a Sikh pendant.

“One of the correction officers told me that if I wanted my religious items, I should go back to my country and ride camels,” said Navdeep....

[To protest, Navdeep engaged in a hunger strike.] A few days after his hunger strike began, the kacchera was returned to him and he is now permitted to wear the bracelet during meal times. But he hasn’t seen the pendant for six months.

[A spokesperson for the prison said:] “We recognize the importance of spiritual and religious practices and have worked hard to provide these services to inmates at our facilities throughout the state,” he says. “However, we must ensure that any program or service provided is done so in a manner that does not undermine safety or security."

[The] United Sikhs finds the security argument baffling. “They haven’t explained how an underwear, a comb or a bangle can be a security concern....

DNSI     direct link     3 comments   Email post: 

Blogger SikhsRus [At 10:47 AM]:

I don't know what this Navdeep Singh is in the jail for, but my question to this so called "devout Sikh" in prison would be, if he is so devout how come he is jail? I guess my question would go to all prisoners in jail belonging to any religion and not just Sikhism. yes! I think he has an equal right as given to other prisoners but I wonder why they commit crime in the first place if they are so devout christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Budhists etc. Every religion teaches not to steal, cheat, lie and kill.

Anonymous Anonymous [At 12:05 PM]:

See you should not talk about what you know nothing of. You have no right to judge anyone, for you are not God, for you do not know the circumstances of the whole situation MR. Navdeep is in.

Blogger Arvinder [At 8:57 AM]:

This is to Sikhrus:
Navdeep is in jail because he was jumped by couple of guys at a party. So to defend himself he stabbed someone. The person who was stabbed is fine.

I am not saying what navdeep(Happy Singh) did was right but he does have the right to follow his religion.

Navdeep we are all with you....don't give up your hope....because of you, one day all jails will allow people to follow their religion believes.

PS. Dimple

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