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Two white boys, jealous & prejudice about Sikh student's kirpan in School


MONTREAL, February 10, 2009

Heated arguments between lawyers and sikh boy's soft-spoken testimony ended when trial that sees him accused of using the Sikh religious object, a kirpan (ceremonial dagger), to threaten two of his schoolmates.

Yesterday, Gurbaj Singh Multani, 13, sikh student has appeared in a Montreal court to face charges when two white schoolmates accused Gurbaj that he threatened them with his kirpan and long hairpin during arguments. It happened during lunch hour outside their school in the town of LaSalle (Cavalier-de-LaSalle high school in the Marguerite Bourgeoys school division) near Montreal on September 11, 2008. The boys reported the matter to their principal and the police was called.

Interestingly, it is the same school board that fought in court against the right of a Sikh student to wear the kirpan. In 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that barring Montrealer Gurbaj Singh Multani from wearing his dagger-like kirpan to school violates the nation's Charter of Rights.

Gurbaj's lawyer argued the Persistent anti-kirpan sentiment in Quebec combined with parental prejudice are at the root of criminal charges brought against a Sikh boy.

Gurbaj's lawyer Julius Grey, a human-rights lawyer said:

  • These two boys, jealous of [the accused], decided to teach him a lesson. They had a certain prejudice they picked up at home, and they invented a story
  • A lot of people in this province had a hard time swallowing the [Supreme Court] ruling.
  • His client was charged because the school board involved was the same one that took the issue of whether a Sikh person can bring a kirpan to school to the Supreme Court of Canada and lost in 2006.
  • `This can be summed up by the title of a Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing

Julius Grey further said:

The accused was baptized as a Sikh at the end of August and only had the kirpan for a few days when the incident occurred. When he headed out to school each morning, his mother would wrap the kirpan in a cloth and bind it with rubber bands.

Grey asked: ``Did you ever unwrap the kirpan?''
The boy said: ``No. Never.''

Grey asked: ``Did you ever show it to anyone?''
The boy said: ``No.''

The Sikh boy said: He only mentioned he was wearing a kirpan to a close friend. He asked the boy to keep it a secret.

Grey said: What about the hairpin.
The boy said: It fell out of his pants about a week before the incident. The plaintiffs noticed the pin and asked him what it was. He explained that he uses it to tuck his hair underneath his turban when it falls out, a frequent hassle for him.

Grey said: if he took it out during the argument with the two boys.
The boy said: I take it out often, so I don't remember.



"It was the same school board which lost the landmark kirpan case to Sikhs in 2006. Now they want to get back at the Sikhs through this fabricated case," Montreal Sikh leader Manjit Singh said.

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