London, Feb 8(ANI): Britain's first Asian judge, Sir Mota Singh, has said that Sikh schoolchildren should be allowed to wear their ceremonial daggers at all times in all public places.
Singh's comments came after a number of Sikhs were refused entry to schools and other venues because they were wearing the Kirpan or other religious artefacts.
Singh, who received a knighthood in the 2010 New Year Honours list, said he had worn his irpan without problems for up to 40 years, in public buildings including Buckingham Palace.
"Not allowing someone who is baptised to wear a Kirpan is not right," The Telegraph quoted ingh, as saying.
The sheathed scimitar, which is attached to a cloth belt and normally worn discreetly under clothes, is one of five "articles of faith" that baptised Sikhs must be carried at all times.
The others are kara (a steel bangle), kesh (unshorn hair), kanga (a comb) and kacha (special underwear).
Last year, a 14-year-old Sikh boy was refused entry to the Compton School in Barnet after governors ruled his Kirpan was a health and safety risk.
The same year, a Sikh police officer won his case for discrimination against Greater Manchester Police after he was told to remove his turban during riot training.
And in 2008, 14-year-old Sarika Singh won a High Court case against Aberdare Girls' School in south Wales after it excluded her for breaking its "no jewellery" rule for wearing a Kara. The school was found guilty of indirect discrimination under race relations and equality laws.
"I think these are issues that can be dealt with a certain amount of sensitivity. The girl not allowed to wear the Kara is a petty thing for the administrators to have done and it doesn't do them any good. It is the right of every young girl and boy to be educated at the school of their choice," Singh said.
"For him or her to be refused admission on that sort of ground, as far as I'm concerned, is quite wrong. It ought not to happen but it does. I think it's wrong to be discriminated against for that reason," he added. (ANI)