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Kirpan Problem Part Two...

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Sikh Student Pulled off the bus because of his knife

Terrorism Task Force, FBI called in over weapon that is integral to faith.

By Kevin Kidder – kkidder@dispatch.com

His first name means "God’s prayer."

And prayers were what Gursimran Singh, 18, was counting with a mechanical clicker as he rode an Ohio State University bus this week — and what he’s done on the bus every day since school started a few weeks ago.

Singh, a devout Sikh and OSU freshman, also was wearing a turban on his head and a kirpaan, he said, is crucial to the Sikh religion. But fellow riders and the bus driver didn’t understand. Singh a Cincinnati native, was arrested Wednesday morning after OSU police officers stopped him as he got off the bus. The joint terrorism task force was called in, an OSU police report shows, and the FBI interrogated Singh. No charges were filed against Singh, said OSU Assistant Police Chief Rick Amweg, and within about 2 ½ hours, he was back in class.

“I was just shocked,” said Singh, who said he doesn’t harbour anger towards the officers and that he was treated with respect. He did question, though, why it took several officers to arrest him and two to handcuff him.

“I thought it only took one person,” he said yesterday afternoon. Though Singh didn’t know it at the time, the arrest was the culmination of an incident when he rode the bus about a week ago, when some other OSU students became suspicious and took pictures of him with cameras on their cell phones. Amweg said.

At the time, Singh was using his prayer clicker, which he said counts his prayers not unlike a Catholic’s rosary beads.

The students turned his picture over to

OSU police, who then began a watch for Singh, Amweg said.

“Our concerns were that we needed to identify who he was, and what he was doing,” he said adding that he thought the students did the right thing.

In the course of trying to find Singh, police on Saturday stopped another Sikh student on the street, Amweg said.

That man was a second-year OSU medical student. He was questioned for about a half-hour and not charged. But on Wednesday, a bus driver recognized Singh from a picture police had circulated to OSU dirvers and raioed for police.

At least one member of the Sikh community said it’s a shame that those of his faith are lumped together with terrorists.

“After 9/11, people have become hypersensitive, or actually hyper defensive,” said Tarunjit Singh Butalia, a research scientist at OSU and faculty advisor to the OSU Sikh Student Association. “I think what happened here is an example.”

Butalia, who is a member of the World Sikh Council, American region, urged people of different faiths to get to know one another.

As many as 36 students are Sikhs at OSU, and there are 100 Sikh families in Columbus, Butalia said.

“I would encourage people who see someone different to go up and to ask questions. “

Sikhs, with 20 million followers worldwide and their largest population in India and Pakistan, have never been tied to the Sept. 11 attack.

Prosecutors have considered charging Singh with carrying a concealed weapon, which Ohio code says is any “instrument, device or thing capable of inflcting death,” but case law exempts the kirpaan.

“We stand by the right to wear a kirpaan,” Butalia said.

The knife’s name means “bringer of “mercy” and represents the Sikh pledge to be ready to oppose oppression – but to never start a confrontation.

OSU police have agreed to be at the next meeting of the Sikh Student Assoication, and Sikh students will attend a police training seminar next quarter to foster communication, Butalia said.


ngh said he would to see everyone become more knowledgeable about differences.

“It would probably have been better if they (the students) had approached me, and asked me questions,” he said.

He remembers pre 9/11 days, when “you didn’t stand out.”

And then there is now; “I mean, Osama bin Laden wears a turban.”

Amweg said he doesn’t criticize the students for contacting police.

“I think we had good citizen involvement. They did what they should have and reported it, and it all worked out for the best.”

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Wow I wish I lived in the states and someone did that to me, time to start taking initiative and make use of americas horrible gun control.

vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw!

vwihgurU jI kI &iqh!!

Yeah, ironic isn't it? Americans somehow have a right to bear arms... you could walk onto a bus with a 44-magnum and no one would blink an eye... but walk onto a bus with a mala and a kirpan suddenly everyone's out to get you...

vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw!

vwihgurU jI kI &iqh!!

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Seems like another test for the Sikhs is coming up, and this time its in the west. It's not that bad yet, but its getting there, I'm not Amrit Shakh at the moment, and dont intend on being one anytime soon, however as soon as I start hearing stuff about Sikh's getting harmed in the sense of large scale assaults and attacks....I wasnt alive for 84, but most definitely am alive and well now.

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Guest SikhForLife

this is just one of the several cases..

i stil remember the singh in an arizona train 2001... someone had called the entire news networks.. and he was shown on TV .time and time again as being affiliated with al-qiada and carrying a 'knife' on a train

but when the police told them he was a Sikh.. the news didnt care to correct their mistake..

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The smaller they are, the bigger their kirpan! Why would you where a kirpan that big on a bus in Ohio. This is America, anyone carrying a "knife", kirpan, that big, especially a person resembling America's public enemy number one should be taken off the bus and harrassed. I mean i too would be scared if i seen a shaky muslim with a clicker and a knife. I mean, my God!!!!! And i don't know about you guys, but if someone comes on a bus a 44magnum, you better make sure that i will more than blink, HOW ridicuous!!

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Education or not, Americans are drakhals!!! They get scared when anyone out of the ordinary just simply sneezes! What educates Americans today, is the media. When we see tv shows and movies about hijackers and terrorists, mechanical clickers and a large kirpans definetly means danger! To educate our society, we must be seen more in the media and the news. We must be distinguished from Muslims and "terrorist". We should show the love and peace that Sikhs contain within and for others!

Make love, not war! - Socrates, i think

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