Harpreet Singh Khalsa was later released without charges.
Sikh American Harpreet Singh Khalsa was arrested outside a grocery store in Catonsville, Maryland, on June 12 for carrying Kirpan, which resembles a small dagger, a Sikh article of faith.
Police said that the 33-year-old Khalsa was released after they made sure “that the knife was a Kirpan and part of his religion, and not a threat to the community,” Baltimore County Officer Jennifer Peach told The Baltimore Sun. “The officer did follow all Maryland and county laws properly in this incident,” Peach said. “There is no known exception to the deadly weapons laws at this time.”
The incident was captured on phone by Rachel Bereson Lachow, who later shared it on her Facebook page. Lachow said that the officer told Khalsa not to access the knife while they remove it from him.
Apparently, Khalsa told the officers several times that he is a Sikh and Kirpan is a religious article. He told the media that Kirpan is a visual reminder to stand up for justice. He said that this was not the first time that he was stopped for wearing the article.
Reportedly, he was arrested on a complaint by a shopper who saw Khalsa sporting the dagger.
This is not the first incident where a Sikh has been questioned for his appearance. The community was recently involved a million-dollar ad campaign across the US to spread knowledge about their religion. It was titled We are Sikhs.
Vice President acknowledges contributions of the Sikh community.
In a separate event, a Sikh delegation met vice president Mike Pence in Indianapolis on Friday. Reportedly, Pence said that he admires the community’s service to the nation and that it has always been close to his heart. The delegation of the Sikhs Political Action Committee (SikhsPAC) was led by Gurinder Singh Khalsa, a prominent Sikh American community leader.
The arrest video can be seen below: