Sutter County Sikh Told He Can’t Serve On Jury With Ceremonial Knife
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YUBA CITY (CBS13) — A Sikh man wants to serve on a Sutter County jury, but the court will not let him because of the ceremonial weapon he carries.
Next week, Gursant Singh is scheduled for jury duty. He says he’ll be arriving with other members of his community, asking for the chance to serve on a jury.
“I feel very strongly that as a citizen of the United States that I should be able to serve as a juror,” he said.
Despite the fact he’s ready, he may never be allowed in the courthouse.
“They’ve put me in a position,” he said. “Either I violate my code of conduct with my religion, or I break the law.”
Singh, who is Sikh carries a dagger, known as a kirpan, an important part of the religion he says that must not be removed.
“It’s a very important article of our faith, put it that way,” he said. “We have five articles of faith in fact, and this is one of them.”
But he’s been told his jury duty scheduled for next week will require him to show up without the kirpan. State law prohibits weapons of any kind in courthouses.”
CBS13 spoke to Sutter County Jury Commissioner Mary Beth Todd, who is trying to come up with alternatives for Singh.
“It’s important that we provide a safe environment for people’s issues to be heard,” she said.
One idea is what some Sikhs have done in other counties, including storing the kirpan with security.
“It’s extremely important that we be sensitive to this, and we’re trying to be sensitive to it, and we’re trying to find a solution that will work for both sides,” she said.
But that solution doesn’t work for Singh, who has taken to YouTube to bolster support. he says he would rather be arrested than undermine his beliefs.
“I’m willing to do that, if that’s what it takes, in order to bring this issue out,” he said.
CBS13 spoke to the Sikh Coalition, who tells us many other agencies have made exceptions for Sikh people to carry their kirpan, and they would expect the same from the court.