VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – What should have been a fun event for a Vancouver woman and her two cousins catching a Mariners game at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park over the weekend has prompted a call for better security training.
Mindip Janda’s younger cousins are baptized Sikhs and they wear kirpans, blunt swords that are articles of faith in the religion. Security staff at the entrance to the park didn’t recognize the items, and Janda says it took them 20 minutes to figure out how to proceed.
“They had to contact the supervisor and then call them, and then they had to take a photo of the kirpan and send it off to other people to take a look at.”
This past weekend I took my younger cousins (who are initiated Sikhs) to their first @Mariners game at @TMobilePark. We had to wait a while to get in because the gate & security staff did not know what to do about their kirpans, a mandatory article of faith in the Sikh religion.
— mindip j (@mindipj) July 23, 2019
She notes staff were understanding, but she was shocked to find out they had never seen a kirpan before.
“There’s all kinds of things to be afraid of and there are people that try to take in prohibited items. This is not a weapon,” she says. “It’s a mandatory thing that people who practice the Sikh religion have to wear.”
Janda’s cousins ended up having to take the kirpans off and put them in lockers outside the stadium during the game. She says the ball park staff needs to have better training when it comes to religious items.
“They knew how to comport themselves in the situation and I was very impressed with my cousins,” she says. “But I could tell that they were trying to insist to these people, ‘No, this is an article of my faith, I have to keep it on.’ It was a little disheartening to watch, for sure.”
The Seattle Mariners says the ballpark will be reviewing security policies in light of the incident.