July 25 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, March 21, 2014
After a Sikh man was acquitted for attacking a drinker with his ceremonial dagger, knife laws were called into question at last week’s area committee six meeting.
A resident cited his concerns after reading the Recorder’s story about Bagicha Singh, 60, of Richmond Road, Ilford, who was acquitted this month of grievous bodily harm and malicious wounding after a jury decided he used his kirpan in self defence.
At the meeting at South Park Primary School, in Seven Kings, resident Richard Leighton raised concerns that there is a “mixed message”.
He said: “They think is this giving the wrong message on knives as this knife can be used.
“I know it’s a crucial part of the Sikh religion but does there need to be clarification?”
Sgt Lee Wilkinson, of the Loxford Safer Neighbourhood Team, was at hand to verify the law.
He said: “It is permitted as part of a person’s religion. It’s a totally different kettle of fish if you are carrying a knife for the sake of it. That’s very different.”
Another resident wondered if the knife had to be sharp.
Cllr Jas Athwal (Labour, Mayfield) said: “The kirpan is not sharp. It’s worn by baptised Sikhs and is one of the five signs of the Sikh faith.
“In the case in question the gentleman was struggling and quite honestly I look back in all my time of 50 years of being on this planet and this is the first time I have heard of a case on the kirpan.”
Cllr Kay Flint (Lab, Mayfield) eased the residents’ fears that children may get the wrong message.
She said: “All school children know about other faiths and are taught from a very young age.
“I can’t see what the problem is.”