Sikh cricket fan is denied entry to Lords

Tue, 09 Aug 2011

The cricket is in full swing at Lord's for most of the population and especially those who venture to Lord's to see it for themselves. However, for amrit-dhari cricket fan Gurdev Singh this was not the case.

Gurdev Singh was denied entry to the Lord's cricket ground on Sunday simply because he was carrying a kirpan .However, under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (section 139) and Criminal Justice 1996 (section 3 and 4) anyone is allowed to carry a blade that does not exceed the length of 3 inches for religious, cultural or work related reasons. In addition, the Criminal Justice Act and the 2003 Religious Discrimination Act safeguards the Sikhs to carry the Kirpan.

"I was refused entry because I did not agree to take off my Kirpan as Kirpan is a body part of a Sikh. It is always on our body, we wash with it, we clothe ourselves everyday, we go everywhere with our Kirpan. That much respect we give to our Kirpan," said Singh.

Singh carried on to say that "it is the same kirpan that Sikhs wore and used to help fight the Nazis. A war, which had nothing to do with us but yet my ancestors, of whom I'm proud of, came from India and fought here, honorably. As a result they help to give all of the ability to live freely but now I am asked to take my Kirpan off and refused entry. What a disgrace."

How true Gurdev Singh is. For instance within a week of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, Arthur Moffat Laing, who was stationed in the Mian Mir cantonment in Lahore, stated, 'If we survive this, never will a Hindustani be enlisted again. Our army should be entirely European, Afghan, Gurkha and Sikh.'

Sikhs even helped to keep the British Empire in India during 1857. Soon after the mutiny had been handled the Lahore Chronicle published an article that contained the following: 'English skill and English valor succumbed, and but for the fidelity of the Sikhs every vestige of European civilization, would in all probability, have been eradicated.'

Lord Roberts, who presided over India's military from 1876 to 1893, suggested that the shift to recruitment in Punjab reflected the divergence between the Sikhs and the 'sepoys of Lower India,' in terms 'of courage and physique.'

Even Falcon's 1896 officer's handbook suggested that recruitment should be aimed only at those 'Sikh tribes which supplied converts to Sikhism in the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who in fact formed the Singh people,' more recent converts were to be avoided as they could not be considered 'true Sikh tribes.'

By June 1858, the new units raised by John Lawrence, which amounted to some 80,000 soldiers and 50,000 parliamentary police of whom 75,000 were Punjabi's and 23,00 Sikhs, had played a pivotal role central in shoring up British authority.

Furthermore, over 138,000 Sikh soldiers fought in Belgium and France during World War I and more than a quarter of these soldiers became casualties. For example, the Sikh Corps provided half the attacking force at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

In the two world wars 83,005 Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. These Sikhs either died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the world and even during shell fire wore no helmet but instead opted to bear their dastar.

However, in a terrible twist of fate the descendants of such courageous men are now not even allowed to enter a public sports arena to watch a cricket game
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