A concert by Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann was shut down mid-way Sunday night in Calgary leaving hundreds of angry concert goers wondering why security guards are not better educated in the importance of the Sihk kirpan. The kirpan is a ceremonial dagger worn on the hip by observant Sikhs and is considered a central requirement of their faith. Obviously, security guards believe the safety and security of hundreds gathered trumps the religious belief of hipping a sword. How refreshing.
Cancelled Calgary concert raises kirpan questions
Concert goers mass on Stephen Avenue after a concert by Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan was called off.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald
CALGARY — Hundreds of upset concertgoers spilled onto the streets of downtown Calgary after a show by a popular Punjabi singer on Sunday night was shut down in mid-performance.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the concert by Gurdas Maan at the Telus Convention Centre ended so suddenly, but many patrons alleged security guards were refusing entry to those wearing the kirpan — a ceremonial dagger carried by observant Sikhs.
Considering Maan’s Punjabi heritage and his wide popularity in India and abroad, some concertgoers were incredulous that security staff wouldn’t have been better educated about the kirpan’s importance to Sikhs.
Wearing the kirpan is considered a central requirement of the Sikh faith. It is worn ceremonially and not intended to be a weapon.
“We respect Canadian laws,” said Amarjit Singh, who was wearing a kirpan underneath his blazer.
Singh said he couldn’t understand why kirpans were being barred from the convention centre when Sikh parliamentarians have long been allowed to wear them inside the House of Commons.
Maan, often called India’s Michael Jackson, attracted a family-heavy crowd made up parents, children and grandparents.
At about 9:30 p.m., the show was ended and police were called to help empty the concert hall.
Police officers ringed the entrances to the convention centre. The crowd dispersed largely without incident, but officers were seen making arrests.