16 Mar 2015

ICC says knife policy won't change

8:07 pm on 16 March 2015

The International Cricket Council says Sikh ceremonial daggers will continue to be prohibited from matches for the remainder of the Cricket World Cup.

India's Virat Kohli

India's Virat Kohli during the game in Auckland Photo: Photosport

Seven Sikh cricket fans were stopped from entering Eden Park at the weekend because they were wearing a dagger called a Kirpan.

One of the men, Auckland taxi driver Karamjit Singh, said his religion requires him to carry the Kirpan at all times.

But ICC spokesperson Philip Clark said he was comfortable with the way staff handled the situation at Eden Park and the policy banning all knives would be in place for the rest of the tournament.

He said the men were given the option of having their Kirpan respectfully removed and looked after or a ticket refund.

A kirpan and sheath

A kirpan and sheath Photo: Wiki Commons

However, Mr Singh said they did not have an option about wearing it.

He said all baptised Sikhs were required to carry the Kirpan as one of the five pillars of their faith.

Mr Singh said he was a cricket fanatic and he bought a ticket for many world cup games in advance and it was a disappointment not to be able to see Saturday's game.

"I was reading the anti racism ICC code, in that also said nobody should be discriminated according to their religion."

He said it had not been a problem at other Cricket World Cup games.

The Kirpan is a seven centimetre ceremonial dagger carried inside a sheath and hidden under clothing.

Mr Singh said it was blunt and was not dangerous.

There were now concerns about the eligibility of Sikhs to attend the next big World Cup games in Auckland and Wellington.

The Sikh Council discussed the Kirpan at a meeting last week with Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little but the ICC ban was not raised.

A council member Rajinder Singh said the ICC was going too far.

PM may look at rules for carrying Kirpans on planes

The Prime Minister says the Government may look at changing legislation to allow Sikhs to carry their ceremonial daggers on flights.

Under Civil Aviation Rules, the blade is also not allowed to be carried onto flights as it exceeds the 6 centimetre length limit.

But John Key said that may change.

"I'm not unsympathetic to looking at that issue and other countries have legislated towards that because I think in reality the Kirpan it's very small, it's blunt and it's a symbol of their faith."

Mr Key said he could not control what rules the ICC enforced at its own tournaments.

ICC's attitude 'out of step'

The Race Relations Commissioner says the International Cricket Council's attitude to Sikh ceremonial daggers is out of step with other major sporting events.

Dame Susan Devoy said the London Olympics in 2012 managed to organise their rules to allow religious daggers into venues.

She said if an event of that size could work out the issue, then maybe it was time for more dialogue to happen between sporting events and religious groups in New Zealand.

Dame Susan said she had not received any complaints about the match on Saturday.