The Sikh Council UK has written to the Sir David Thompson QPM DL LLB, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and Simon Foster, Police & Crime Commissioner requesting an urgent meeting to address the many concerns surrounding the conduct of the West Midlands Police held by the Sikh Community.

Two incidents conducted by the West Midlands Police have done significant damage to the trust of our community:

  1. The raids on the houses of young Sikh activists by the West Midlands Police accused of alleged murder in India. Proceedings in Court have concluded that the evidence to prosecute the individuals and make a case for their extradition was fabricated.And most recently:
  2. The conduct of West Midlands Police officer(s) where the dastaar of a Sikh gentleman was disrespected on 25th October 2021.

The Sikh Council UK urges all Gurdwaras, Sikh organisations and educational institutions to use their voices to speak up against all abuse It is important that we believe the victims of abuse and stand alongside them. The courage of victims and survivors to step forward and share their story so that no other man, woman, or child suffers, should be acknowledged and recognised.

Gurbani tells us, “that truth always prevails.” As a Qaum it is a stark wake-up call when incidents in our community come to light. We have a greater obligation to tackle those who discredit the Khalsa’s Bana and have used their positions to violate and abuse our brothers and sisters. One incident, one perpetrator is one too many.

Through the campaigning and advocacy of organisations such as ‘The Kaur Movement’, a spotlight has been shone to expose horrific cases of alleged sexual abuse in faith settings in the Sikh Community.

In managing allegations and responding to victims of abuse we must step away from cultural taboos and trends that have evolved. It is imperative that as a Qaum we implement and adhere to strict and robust safeguarding measures in light of Gurmat and UK law.

The Sikh Council UK also acknowledges that historic administrations of ours, and other community organisations, have failed to deal with safeguarding concerns in an acceptable manner. The new leadership team is now focused on ensuring safeguarding is treated with the upmost seriousness it requires.

We consider those who are involved in the day-to-day running of Gurdwaras, Sikh organisations and institutions have a moral and legal duty of care, trust and responsibility to ensure that all members of our community are kept safe from any type of abuse.

Should anyone experience abuse, of any kind, within any Sikh spaces or otherwise, we would urge formal reporting to committee members, specialist support groups and/or the police. Furthermore, we urge all parties to take any report or claim extremely seriously and with the appropriate level of protection and discretion.

An urgent review should be undertaken to ensure that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and best practise should be implemented and followed as a minimum standard for all Gurdwaras, Sikh Organisations and institutes.

ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਪਾਵਨ ਸਰੂਪਾਂ ਦੀ ਵਿਦੇਸ਼ਾਂ ‘ਚ ਛਪਾਈ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਦੇ ਫੈਸਲੇ ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ

ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਭਾਵਨਾਵਾਂ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਵਾ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਸਿੱਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ., ਭਾਰਤ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਹਰਲੇ ਦੇਸ਼ਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਪਾਵਨ ਸਰੂਪਾਂ ਦੀ ਛਪਾਈ ਲਈ ਪ੍ਰਿੰਟਿੰਗ ਪ੍ਰੈੱਸਾਂ ਸਥਾਪਤ ਕਰਨ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਬੀਬੀ ਜਗੀਰ ਕੌਰ ਦੇ ਐਲਾਨ ਦੀ ਨਿਖੇਧੀ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਯੂਨਾਈਟਿਡ ਕਿੰਗਡਮ ਵਿਚ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਵਧੇਰੇ ਸਰੂਪਾਂ ਦੀ ਜ਼ਰੂਰਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ। ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦਾ ਸਿੱਖ ਭਾਈਚਾਰਾ ਯੂਰਪ ਦੇ ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਹਿੱਸੇ ਵਿਚ ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਲੋੜ ਦੀ ਪੂਰਤੀ ਕਰਨ ਦੇ ਸਮਰੱਥ ਹੈ।

ਅਸੀਂ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਨੂੰ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਆਪਣਾ ਐਲਾਨ ਤੁਰੰਤ ਵਾਪਸ ਲਵੇ ਅਤੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਨਵੇਂ ਸਰੂਪਾਂ ਦੀ ਛਪਾਈ ਬੰਦ ਕਰ ਦੇਵੇ।

ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਯੂਰਪ ਵਿਚ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧਕ ਕਮੇਟੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਸਰਵੇਖਣ ਭਰ ਕੇ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਭੇਜਣ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਪਾਲਤਾ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਅਪੀਲ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ।

ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ


Sikh Council UK: UK Sikhs oppose SGPC’s decision of Printing Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee ‘abroad’

The Sikh Council UK has been approached by many Gurdwaras to echo the sentiment of Sikhs in the UK by condemning the announcement of Bibi Jagir Kaur, President SGPC to set up facilities for printing saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee in foreign countries outside India. There is no need for additional saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee in the United Kingdom. Any need in mainland Europe can be met by the UK Sikh Community with relative ease.

We urge the SGPC to retract their announcement immediately and cease the printing of any new saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. The Sikh Council UK has launched a survey to gain further information from Gurdwara Management Committees. 

Sikh Council UK

ਸਰਵੇਖਣ/Survey

Sikh Council UK was approached by large sections of the Sikh Community who were concerned around the funding, consultation and processes used in establishing a ‘Guru Nanak Chair’ at the University of Birmingham. Sikh Council UK wrote to the University expressing concerns.

We have received a response from the University. We are now sharing our communication and the universities response (see attached) with the wider community as we remain dissatisfied and concerned. We invite Sikh Organisations and Gurdwaras to come together and engage in an informed discussion to determine our next steps. Please email us your suggestions/concern on this issue at info@sikhcouncil.co.uk and we will be in touch to arrange a virtual meeting.

External/Internal Communications and Engagement Team

Sikh Council UK

Attachments:

  1. Our Email to University 
  2. University of Birmingham Response

Our response to Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report

2421- Please Read/Download Full Statement (PDF) Here

The Sikh Council UK, as the largest representative platform of Sikhs in the UK, is one of many organisations representing minority communities in the UK that is strongly disappointed by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report. Our main concerns are:

The lack of recognition that institutional and structural barriers still exist for many ethnic minority communities in employment, health and education, to name a few. One only needs to look at the makeup or lack of representation of ethnic minorities in senior and decision making roles in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

The report fails to recognise intersectionality and the multiple factors that lead to inequality, for example, the intersection between ethnicity, socio-economic and lack of social mobility.

Whilst we welcome the recommendation “to produce high-quality teaching resources to tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions made by different groups that have made this country the one it is today.”

We strongly suggest this should not be at the expense of ignoring the suffering of millions of individuals during the British Empire. Nor the fact that colonialism involved exploitation of natural resources and minerals from many countries to benefit the British Empire for its rulers, leading to inequality and poverty that still exists in many of the former colonies.

All native men were forced to crawl the Kucha Kurrichhan on their hands and knees as punishment in Amritsar, 1919

The Sikhs are only too aware of the legacy left by the British Empire, in that the Sikh Kingdom that stretched from what is Northern India, parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan was annexed by the British. The British Empire nearly destroyed and replaced our indigenous education system. Treaties that were signed between the British rulers and Sikhs were never honoured, resulting in no restoration of the Sikh Kingdom. Instead, the state of Punjab was split between two nations, India and Pakistan during partition. Since then, the state of Punjab has always been treated differently to all other states by the Central Indian Government,

We welcome the recommendation to use data in a responsible and informed way. However, we are disappointed that there is no mention of communities like the Sikhs that are recognised as both a religious and ethnic group within the Equality Act 2010 but are never monitored for data collection in terms of ethnicity. So, any inequalities or disparities for the Sikh community are never highlighted or addressed.

The Government needs to address the concerns of minority groups appropriately and quickly as including our own community, many are losing faith in the process of state commissioned ‘independent’ research.

Please Read/Download Full PDF statement here

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has passed its second reading in parliament. The Sikh Council UK, as the largest representative platform of Sikhs in the UK, is concerned about the implications this has on fundamental human rights, including the right to protest peacefully.

Membership Secretary Bhervinder Singh said, “Like other minorities, we have safeguarded many of our rights through the democratic means of peaceful protest. A striking example of this is the 1983 protest march at Hyde Park that had over 40,000 attendees during the Mandla Sikh turban case.

Photograph of Key Sikh Leaders in 1983 during the Mandla Sikh-Turban Campaign

The latest and ongoing issue relates to India’s Anti-Farmer laws, which have led to several protests in the UK in recent months. We anticipate further protests to exert pressure on India’s government when lockdown is eased. We strongly oppose these new draconian measures that limit the length of protests, impose maximum noise-levels and prosecute activists for serious annoyance.

For many, this is a harrowing reminder of Britain’s colonial past in which the freedom of assembly was heavily restricted in many places, causing some of the darkest chapters in history, such as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, in Amritsar 1919.”

However, the Sikh Council UK welcomes the tightening of child protection laws through this legislation which will amend Section 21 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This means the definition of a person in a ‘position of trust’ will now include sports coaches and religious leaders, making it illegal for people in these categories to engage in sexual activity with any under 18s (including those over the usual age of consent, 16 years old).

We commend the hard work of the NSPCC, Sarah Champion MP, Chair of the APPG on Safeguarding in Faith Settings and Preet Kaur Gill MP, the Vice-Chair of this APPG and the Chair of the APPG on British Sikhs.

 

Sikh Council UK pays tribute and prays for the family and loved ones of Sarah Everard. We urge the UK Government to use this bill and other opportunities to immediately tackle the rising issue of violence against young girls and women.

-END –

Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Read/Download PDF Here

The Sikh Council UK expresses concern over rising community tensions in the UK due to events in India. We feel that India’s current domestic policy endangers the communal harmony between different communities of Indian origin in the UK, especially minorities like the Sikhs.

Since the onset of the farmers’ protest, there has been a campaign led by the Hindu nationalist government in India to demonise the protestors. Propaganda by India’s ruling party falsely suggests that this is a Sikh/Punjab driven agitation. The truth is that the protest consists of Indian citizens from different states with diverse religious, cultural and political views. This has led to religious tension in India, we feel this could trigger similar unrest in the UK.

Generally, Sikhs and Hindus of Indian origin have lived together peacefully in the UK. However, in recent months, there has been an increase in anti-Sikh hate rhetoric from supporters of the Hindu nationalist government in India. Many supporters of the farmers’ protest, including climate-activists, journalists and UK parliamentarians have been subjected to hateful online abuse containing racial and sexual undertones. We urge anyone receiving hate-crime to report this to the police immediately.

Last week, UK based group, ‘Inspiring Indian Women’ sparked outrage through an inflammatory tweet: “Punjab needs to be cleansed of lots of cobweb. They forgot the massacre after Indira”. This has led to resignation of its patron Virendra Sharma MP who is also the chair of Indo-British All-Party Parliamentary Group.

In Australia, a right-wing Hindutva group allegedly threatened to lead a march past a Gurdwara that could have led to violence. As there is some indication of lockdown coming to an end here in the UK, we are fearful that we will see a series of protests and counter-protests on this divisive issue that may collide.

Gurpreet Singh Anand, Secretary General of SCUK said, “The anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in November 1984 are a traumatic memory for the Sikh Community. Social media has been plagued with reminders of the Sikh Genocide and allusions to a repetition of ‘history the Sikhs have forgotten’. We have seen the dangers of inciteful propaganda in the USA. This behaviour is a threat to the cohesive social fabric of Britain, it must stop.”

India’s ruling party, the BJP make no secret of their ‘IT Cell’. There is evidence to suggest a similar international syndicate network and we fear the UK is being targeted to propagate Hindu Nationalist extremism known as Hindutva. The Sikh Council UK has written to the High Commission of India, London to urge them to condemn ‘Hindutva’ hate-crime conducted by people of Indian origin in the UK.

Read/Download Full Statement Here

There is global outrage in response to India’s handling of the farmers’ protests. From the onset of this historic movement, there has been a direct campaign to malign and demonise the farmers. Sadly, state-favoured media, politicians and various influencers have contributed to a dangerous narrative that harbours religious tension and polarity. An extremely offensive manifestation of this is the gathering of anti-social mobs outside Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib which marks the spot Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Jee (our ninth Guru) laid his life to deliver the Hindu faith from an existential crisis. Despite this, farmers from all parts of India are continuing to join and strengthen their collective voice against the anti-farmer laws. 

Last month, the Sikh Council UK issued a ‘red alert‘ that was undersigned by over 180 Gurdwaras and Sikh Organisations that forewarned further violence. A survey conducted simultaneously showed that 93% of the UK Sikhs’ felt that human rights violations would increase’. 

Sadly, this has proven to be true. The Sikh Council UK has verified the following reports emerging from the ground:
 

  • Attacks on protest sites by gangs enabled to do so by the police which passively observes criminal activity 
  • Some members of these mobs have been identified as allies of India’s ruling party, the BJP. 
  • Clear use of disproportionate force by the police, deliberate provocation and desecration of Sikh religious articles, including the dastaar (Sikh Turban) and Kesh (hair). 
  • The removal of water, electricity and essential supplies to some protest sites. 
  • The suspension of internet and communication services 
  • The arrest of independent media personnel, especially those involved in investigative journalism.  
  • A increasing number of missing persons amongst the protestors
     

The above demonstrates the state is actively breaching the protestors’ fundamental human rights and is complicit in criminal activity. 

PM Narendra Modi has a troublesome past stained by the bloodbath of the 2002 Gujrat Riots. This only compounds our present concerns. Today, in his national radio broadcast, PM Modi has incited hatred amongst his supporters (known as bhakts‘)  by falsely claiming desecration of the National Flag on January 26th. This deliberate recklessness leaves us in no uncertainty as to the intentions of the Indian state.  

We urge immediate international intervention and unbiased coverage by the world press. In light of recent events, Gurdwaras are considering bans on Indian diplomats and politicians visiting Gurdwaras in an official capacity in the UK.

We are certain that the immediate actions of the Indian Government will shape Sikh attitudes for generations. Farming is intrinsic is to the Sikh community; the threat to Indian agriculture affects us disproportionately. Sikh history has a proven record of resilience against tyranny. We call for our community both on the ground and in the diaspora to remain vigilant. 

 

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Whilst we’re all worried about the new stains of COVID19, there is a worrying financial strain on our religious institutions, many of which may not be able to recuperate.

Sikh Council UK, the largest representative platform of Sikh Gurdwaras and organisations, surveyed member Gurdwaras – the results are worrying. Sadly, for a chance of survival, without a miracle, Gurdwaras will have to stop their aid projects to the wider community.

See our report here