The National Commission for Minorities stated that it has come to its notice that Sikh students are asked to report at centres for examinations like NEET and JEE hours in advance for scanning of ‘Karas’ and ‘Kirpans’, and urged the National Testing Agency to ensure there is no discrimination against Sikh candidates on the basis of their articles of faith.
In an official release, the commission said that in light of the religious belief of the Sikh community and the right guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution, in the absence of any objective facts indicative, or suggestive of, the real threat of use of unfair means by those wearing ‘Karas’ and ‘Kirpans’, the blanket ban on metallic objects would not be justified as has been held by a Delhi High Court verdict.
‘Kara’ and ‘kirpan’ are among the five articles of faith that are worn by Sikhs. The statement, which was addressed to the chairperson of the National Testing Agency, MS Ananth, said the NCM advises that the agencies responsible for conducting examinations may be directed to consider taking steps to avoid any discrimination against students belonging to the Sikh community. The NCM said the reporting time of the examination should be the same for all the candidates irrespective of their religion. It asserted that no discrimination be made between the Sikh candidates and others on the basis of their articles of faith. The NCM also said the screening may be done through a door frame metal detector for reducing time and ensuring proper security procedures.