Sikh Organization Successfully Defends Sikh Kirpan Charge, Case Dismissed

April 20th, 2004

On April 13th a prosecutor for New York City dropped charges against a Sikh for wearing a kirpan. Kashmir Singh, of Carteret, New Jersey, was charged in February 2004 for violating New York City's administrative code by carrying his kirpan.

A trial was scheduled on April 13th at Midtown Community Court in New York. Due to the Coalition's intervention, the prosecution dropped the kirpan charge just before Kashmir Singh's trial was to begin.

Kashmir Singh approached the Sikh Coalition in March requesting assistance. The Sikh Coalition's legal director wrote a letter to the court explaining the religious signficance of the kirpan and citing past precedent where courts or prosecutors dismissed kirpan charges before trial. This letter lead to the prosecutor ultimately deciding to drop the kirpan-related charge against Kashmir Singh.

This is the
seventh time the Sikh Coalition has successfully prevented successful prosecution of a Sikh for carrying his or her kirpan. Over the past two and one-half years the Coalition has developed an extensive body of precedent supporting the ability of Sikh-Americans to wear their kirpans without restriction.

The Coalition urges the Sikhs to wear their articles of faith, including the kirpan, freely. If you have been charges with a crime or fear losing your job because you wear a kirpan, please contact the Sikh Coalition at
legal@sikhcoalition.org.

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