Coventry & Warwickshire

Ceremonial weapons seized at Leamington Spa Sikh temple 'returned'

Tachbrook Drive, Leamington
Image caption Warwickshire Police seized a "significant number" of kirpans at the protest

Ceremonial weapons seized after a protest at a Sikh temple have been returned, the Sikh Federation said.

Officers arrested 55 people at the Gurdwara Sahib in Leamington Spa following reports men entered the building during a dispute over inter-faith marriages.

A number of Kirpans - a short sword and one of five physical symbols of faith worn by Sikhs - were seized.

Warwickshire Police confirmed the weapons were available for collection.

'Unacceptable'

Davinder Singh, from the Sikh Federation, said a formal complaint could be made despite the return of the Kirpans.

"[The police] said they needed them for investigation and forensic purposes, but we felt it was unacceptable," he said.

"This clearly is not the end of the matter. We want the police to explain why they kept them."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Kirpans carried by Sikhs for religious reasons are permitted under UK law

The protest by Sikh Youth UK members on September 11 was in response to an inter-faith marriage due to be carried out as a Sikh marriage.

Under UK law it is generally illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason.

However knives used for religious purposes, such as Kirpans, are permitted.

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