A 20-year-old University of California Davis student was allegedly denied entry onto an Amtrak bus because of a knife he was wielding, the ceremonial dagger referred to as a Kirpan that is worn by all baptized Sikhs. Officials that noticed the knife on the student, Harsimram Singh, called police. When the officers arrived at the scene, they asked him to store it in luggage placed in the locked compartment underneath the seating area of the bus. Singh refused, explaining that the kirpan was an important part of his faith, intended to be worn at all times.
“Our faith is core to our beliefs and everyday living. To compromise that on behalf of someone else is not acceptable,” Singh told KCRA-TV.
Singh was outraged by the refusal of that particular bus’s Amtrak employees to allow him onboard, claiming that he has ridden with his Kirpan on the buses several times before.
“I was like, dumbfounded. I’ve been riding Amtrak for two years and I’ve never had a situation like this,” Singh said.
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Raw Story explains that TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, does not allow kirpans on airplanes, but allows them to be checked in luggage. Singh claimed that while he complies with the TSA rules, he does not believe that the same rules should apply for Amtrak buses.
Amtrak officials, however, claim that all weapons and knives must be checked rather than brought aboard their vehicles.
Singh was on his way to visit family in the Fresno area.