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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Judge: Sikh student shouldn't have been arrested for knife"

According to the Associated Press:
A judge says Wayne State University police should not have arrested a student for carrying knives that were part of his Sikh religious beliefs.

Sukhpreet Singh Garcha, 23, was arrested Aug. 14 for carrying a 10-inch knife on his hip and a 5-inch knife concealed in his waistband. He was charged with violating Detroit's knife ordinance, which prohibits carrying knives with blades longer than 3 inches.

Carrying a ritual knife known as a kirpan at all times is a basic tenet of Sikhism, an Indian-based faith with an estimated 25 million followers worldwide....

Detroit 36th District Court Judge Rudy Serra ruled last month that the knife ordinance was intended to apply to people carrying "a knife as a weapon or for some unlawful purpose."

Since Garcha was carrying the kirpan for religious reasons, the ordinance did not apply, the judge said....

Wayne State Public Safety Director Anthony Holt said campus officers will not arrest Garcha or other Sikh students who carry a kirpan, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

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