Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Tower fire – News and Links to support

The Sikh community have rallied to help those impacted by the Grenfell Tower fire. Here we share details and news related to these efforts.

Drop off centres

If you wish to donate or help in anyway, please use this Facebook page (being regulated by humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid) to coordinate efforts – https://www.facebook.com/Grenfell-Tower-Relief-Coordination-1724526381181534/?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite¬if_id=1497450070665755&sw_fnr_id=3447242588.

Sikh in Trump era

Being Sikh in the Trump era – L.A Times

‘You have to go out of your way to prove you’re not a threat’

Balmeet Singh stepped outside a burger shop in a strip mall to wish his 13-year-old cousin a happy birthday when the stranger squared up against him.

“So, you’re going to blow up this country?” the man said. “You’re trying to blow up this country?”

He threw a drink in Singh’s face, his long beard and burgundy turban the intended target. Then the man threatened to kill him.

A dozen people sat in the nearby patio. Singh scanned their faces. No one said anything. Singh had never felt so alone.

The September attack left the 31-year-old real estate agent among the swelling ranks of Sikhs targeted, in many cases, after being mistaken for Muslim — a phenomenon that gained momentum after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Sikh community leaders say they’ve seen another uptick since the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s proposed immigration and travel bans. Those proposals, they argue, are fueling an intensified xenophobia.

Sikhism, which has roots in the Punjab region of northern India and eastern Pakistan, is the world’s fifth-largest religion.

The FBI began collecting data on anti-Sikh, anti-Arab and anti-Hindu hate crimes for the first time in 2015, though the Sikh community has struggled for years to accurately track those crimes. Only six of the incidents in the most recent FBI report were anti-Sikh hate crimes, but the bureau has said it takes years to get an accurate accounting.

Sikh advocacy groups argue such incidents are under-reported and do not include other hate-filled attacks, such as discrimination or hate speech — a concern buoyed by law enforcement data. Many cities either did not report hate crimes or reported zero hate crimes, according to the FBI report.

“The overwhelming motivation for these attacks or intimidation incidents are part and parcel of a growing wave of hostility based on perception that Sikhs are Muslim,” said Suman Raghunathan, executive director of the advocacy group South Asian Americans Leading Together.

Advocacy groups use statistics on anti-Muslim hate crimes to help determine whether Sikhs are at higher risk, said Rajdeep Singh Jolly, interim managing director of programs at the Sikh Coalition.

“At the moment, the risk of anti-Sikh hate crime is high,” Jolly said. “Any time there is a flare-up in anti-immigrant rhetoric, we see an uptick in even an apprehension about hate crimes.”

While some of the violence against Sikhs stems from misconceptions about their background — attackers assume they are Muslim or Middle Eastern — experts say much of it is fueled by a prejudiced response to their darker skin, beards or turbans.

Earlier this year, two Sikhs and two other Indian men were shot in attacks in Kansas, Washington and South Carolina. In two of the incidents, authorities said the shooters expressed a variation of the same sentiment: Go back to your country.

“It’s very similar to how I felt after 9/11,” Singh said. “It’s not enough to simply be who you are and exist. You have to go out of your way to prove you’re not a threat.”

Community members are working to strike a balance in its efforts to educate the public about Sikhism — aiming to differentiate themselves through awareness campaigns and local outreach without appearing to condone attacks on Muslims and other minorities.

“Sikhs began migrating in large numbers with my parents’ generation,” Jolly said. “They just didn’t have the time or resources or the know-how of how to do lobbying. To some extent, we’re catching up.”

A disturbing trend

Maan Singh Khalsa was attacked and beaten, and his hair was cut off in Richmond, Calif., in 2016.

Maan Singh Khalsa was attacked and beaten, and his hair was cut off in Richmond, Calif., in 2016. (Sikh Coalition)

Maan Singh Khalsa thought nothing of the men in the white Ford F-150 who pulled up next to him at a red light in Richmond, Calif. Then they began throwing beer cans at him.

When the light turned green, Khalsa drove off and called 911. The truck followed.

At the next red light, two men got out of the pickup and ran up to Khalsa’s car. They reached into the open window, punched his face and yelled profanities. The attackers cut off bits of his hair. They stabbed his finger as he tried to shield himself. His finger was later amputated.

“By cutting my hair, the attackers did not just attack my body; they attacked my dignity, my spirit, my faith, my religion and my entire community,” Khalsa, 42, said later in a court statement.

Khalsa said he didn’t even think about rolling up the window when the men approached him. Instead, he tried to reason with his assailants, saying, “There is a misunderstanding; I am your brother.”

The Texas men were sentenced to three years in prison for the September attack. When addressing his attackers in court, Khalsa again tried to get them to understand.

“I hope that you will learn about me and my community and one day consider me your brother too,” Khalsa said.

High profile attacks on Indian Americans

  • September 2001: Balbir Singh Sodhi is killed in the aftermath of 9/11 in Mesa, Ariz.
  • March 2011: Two elderly Sikh men are killed while out for a walk in Elk Grove, Calif.
  • August 2012: A gunman opens fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis., during Sikh prayer services, killing six.
  • September 2015: A teenager calls a Sikh man “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” before repeatedly punching him in his car in Chicago.
  • September 2016: A Sikh man is brutally beaten and his hair is cut off while stopped at a red light in Richmond, Calif.
  • February 2017: Two Indian men are shot, one of them fatally, at a bar in Olathe, Kan. The shooter reportedly told them to go back to their country.
  • March 2017: Two Sikh men are attacked in separate shootings, one in Washington and another in South Carolina. The man shot in South Carolina was killed.

On Sept. 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi was planting flowers with a landscaper outside his gas station in Mesa, Ariz. On his head rested a turban.

As he drove past in his pickup, Frank Roque, a 42-year-old machinist, opened fire with a .38-caliber handgun. Sodhi, 49, was shot multiple times. He crumbled to the ground, fatally wounded — the first Sikh killed after 9/11 by someone bent on killing a Muslim.

The next day, when police arrested him, Roque yelled, “I stand for America!”

Before the attack, Roque told a waiter at an Applebee’s that he was going to go out and “shoot some towel heads.” He said that “all Arabs should be shot” and that he wanted to “slit some Iranian throats,” according to media reports.

Sodhi’s brother, Rana, didn’t learn of his brother’s death until the next day, when a gas station employee called. He thought his brother must have been shot in a robbery. Then it sunk in that his brother was killed outside the shop. Sodhi had been shot because of what his beard and turban meant to his killer, his brother realized.

“We didn’t know there was so much ignorance,” Rana Sodhi said.

A link between political rhetoric and crime

Gurcharan Singh, 63, celebrates a holiday parade at his gurdwara.

Gurcharan Singh, 63, celebrates a holiday parade at his gurdwara. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The FBI began tracking hate crimes against Sikhs in response to community advocacy following a mass shooting at a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis., in 2012. Six people were killed, and three were critically wounded. The gunman shot himself in the head.

Sikhs have been attacked at least a dozen times since, but it was a shooting in Kansas in February that again put the Indian community on edge. In that attack, two men were shot by a man who reportedly believed he was shooting Iranians.

Valarie Kaur, a Sikh civil rights advocate, said she’s spent years pushing back against the mistaken identity narrative because xenophobia targets “all of our communities at once,” not just Sikhs.

“It seems to make very little difference if the brown, bearded man with the turban calls himself a Sikh and not a Muslim,” she said. “They read us as un-American.”

Sikh women prepare bread during Nagar Kirtan celebrations at Gurdwara Guru Angad Darbar in Bakersfield.

Sikh women prepare bread during Nagar Kirtan celebrations at Gurdwara Guru Angad Darbar in Bakersfield. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A correlation between President Trump’s talk on immigration and an increase in hate crimes doesn’t necessarily point to causation, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, but there could be a link between political rhetoric and crime.

When then-President George W. Bush called for tolerance after 9/11, anti-Muslim hate crimes dropped dramatically across the country, he said. Those crimes spiked when Trump, then a presidential candidate, first proposed his “Muslim ban” after the San Bernardino terrorist attack in December 2015, Levin said.

The average for anti-Muslim hate crimes at the time was about 13 per month, he said, but there were 15 anti-Muslim crimes within five days after Trump’s speech.

“Sikhs are getting swept up in that,” Levin said.

Carrying proof of citizenship

Sikh holy men walk in front of a procession carrying their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, during a Nagar Kirtan parade.

Sikh holy men walk in front of a procession carrying their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, during a Nagar Kirtan parade. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In the days following Trump’s first travel ban order, conversations in Balmeet Singh’s family began to shift from asking about each other’s day to whether they would need to prove they are Americans. Over dinners, they discussed keeping copies of their passports in their car and scanned copies onto their phones.

They bought his youngest sister a panic button in case anyone harassed her.

Singh, who lives in Bakersfield with his parents, grandparents and sisters, said it was surreal for all three generations to sit down and talk about their identity.

“Suddenly, all of us have to discuss that it’s not enough to be who we are,” he said. “We suddenly have to prove ourselves.”

Sikh men play a card game in a neighborhood park in Bakersfield.

Sikh men play a card game in a neighborhood park in Bakersfield. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Sukhpreet "Sandy" Kaur, left, helps Emily Villarreal cover her head before entering the gurdwara.

Sukhpreet “Sandy” Kaur, left, helps Emily Villarreal cover her head before entering the gurdwara. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

About 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States, with much of that population settled in California and New York, according to the Sikh Coalition.

Sikhs represent a small portion of the Indian population, but community estimates place more than 30,000 in the central San Joaquin Valley. They comprise the majority of the local Indian population.

In an effort to familiarize the rest of the community with Sikhs, Singh’s father put up a billboard along the freeway with his photo and information about his medical clinic. His face is plastered on the left side of the sign, his hair wrapped in a black turban.

Forgiveness

A Sikh priest offer prayers during Nagar Kirtan services at Gurdwara Guru Angad Darbar in Bakersfield.

A Sikh priest offer prayers during Nagar Kirtan services at Gurdwara Guru Angad Darbar in Bakersfield. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Just days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, his brother Rana and other members of their gurdwara planned a Sunday news conference to educate the community about Sikhs. The day before, Sodhi called his brother and asked him to bring an American flag for the gas station.

Sodhi was shot dead 30 minutes later.

“A lot of us moved from India after 1984, when Sikhs were persecuted in New Delhi out in the open,” Rana Sodhi said. “We didn’t expect those kind of things from America.”

He spoke with his brother’s killer for the first time last year after Kaur, the Sikh civil rights advocate and a family friend, set up a phone call.

The three spoke for more than 20 minutes. Roque, who still is in prison, told Rana Sodhi that he was seething over the terrorist attacks when he pulled the trigger. He said he wasn’t a racist, and he did express remorse.

“I want you to know from my heart, I’m sorry for what I did to your brother,” Roque said, according to a recording of the conversation. “One day, when I go to heaven to be judged by God, I will ask to see your brother, and I will hug him, and I will ask him for forgiveness.”

Sodhi nodded, then replied: “We already forgave you.”

Via – http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-trump-sikhs-20170509-htmlstory.html


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How did the Sikhs do? #GE2017

With over a dozen Sikhs running for seats in last night’s election, many within the community were waiting for the results to come in to see if there would be a Sikh MP in parliament for the first time since 2015.

Here we bring you a comprehensive breakdown of just how the Sikh MP candidates did last night.


The results of the General Election 2017 saw history created for the Sikh community, as for the first time a Sikh female and a turban wearing Sikh became elected as MPs.

Both running for the Labour Party, Preet Kaur Gill was first to find out she had made history, winning over 6,000 more votes than the Tories to become the official MP for Edgbaston. News of Tanmanjeet Singh‘s success soon followed, with news of him winning the seat for Slough with a huge majority of 16,998.

Sikhs across the world and with varying political allegiances were quick to congratulate both on social media. The sentiment was especially echoed by UK Sikhs, largely due to both being recognised and respected community figures, as Sikh Press Association press officer Jasveer Singh explains.

“Both Tanmanjeet Singh and Preet Kaur are receiving so much praise for their achievements not simply because both are Sikh but because both have long been active figures within the Sikh community.

“Preet Kaur has always been a regular at national rallies and local events across the UK. She has never been afraid to publicly express the views of the Sikh community on subjects such as the Sikh Genocide of 1984. As a board member of the Sikh Network, Preet Kaur has been heavily involved in advocacy of the Sikh manifesto and also advising younger Sikhs on getting into politics.

“Tanmanjeet Singh was one of the first Sikhs to speak in the media following the 2015 General Election results, which saw no Sikh MPs elected anywhere in the country. He advocated a reaffirmed commitment from all Sikhs to push for political representation and now we see he has led the way in acting on his own words two years ago.

“During his campaign, Tanmanjeet Singh was receiving support from diverse figures within the Sikh community, from MMA instructors to langar sevadaars (communal food volunteers), due to his long-standing support for grassroots organisations. He remains the President of the UK Gatka (Sikh weaponry martial-art) Foundation and a trustee of Alzheimer’s and Dementia SS.

“Their job is now to serve the interests of their constituents. However, I am certain both will always remain connected to the Sikh community at all levels.”

 

Elsewhere, other Sikh candidates failed to match the success of Tanmanjeet Singh and Preet Kaur, with the two being the only Sikhs elected in the UK.

One of the most watched campaigns of any Sikh came from independent candidate, Jagmeet Singh, running in Wolverhampton South-West. A well known activist, Jagmeet Singh aimed to find a new way to make change by venturing into politics in his home city of Wolverhampton. Part of the newly formed (but not officially registered) Panth Party, Jagmeet Singh’s politics centred on Sikh ethos, advocating community spirit and a fearless approach to speaking on issues of concern. Jagmeet Singh won 358 votes in a seat he contested with fellow Sikh Paul Uppal, who was the MP for the area from 2010-2015. Uppal won over 18,000 votes for the Conservatives but was unable to topple Labour candidate Eleanor Smith, who is now the official MP for Wolverhampton South-West.

Bally Singh, Labour candidate for Kenilworth and Southam, came second to his Conservative counterpart Jeremy Wright in comprehensive fashion, with a huge 18,000 votes the difference between the two.

Kuldip Sahota, also for Labour, ran a much closer race with Conservative candidate Lucy Allan in Telford,  with each getting over 21,000 votes and only 720 votes as the difference between the two.

In Feltham and Heston – a constituency with a large Sikh community – Samir Jassal of the Conservatives was unable to dethrone Seema Malhotra of Labour, taking just over 16,000 votes, half the number she won. Labour’s Rocky Gill found himself in a similar position in Hornchurch and Upminster, taking just under half the votes of the Conservative candidate winner, at 16,000.

Reena Ranger of the Conservatives was always going to find it hard in Birmingham Hall Green, a long time Labour stronghold, and ended up coming second to the Labour candidate by just under 34,000 votes, having won over 8,000 herself.  Elsewhere in Birmingham, known to have a big Sikh population, the Birmingham Perry Barr area was contested by three Sikhs. Harjinder Singh, formerly of UKIP and now of his self-made Open Borders Party, based on a principle of more but better vetted immigration, won 99 votes, approximately 500 less than the Green Party’s Vijay Rana. Vijay’s haul was around half of what Harjun Singh of the Lib Dems received, meaning none of the three were close to the constituency’s winner, Khalid Mahmood of Labour, who has had the seat since 2001.

Running in Tewkesbury, Manjinder Singh Kang of the Labour Party came second to Conservative candidate Laurence Robertson, who took a majority of over 35,448, compared to Manjinder Singh’s 12,874.

For UKIP, who failed to win or retain a single seat, Vijay Srao was unable to challenge his Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative (the constituency winners) counterparts, taking just under 1300 votes. His fellow UKIP-er Bob Dhillon came last as Labour took Warwick and Leamington. Teenager Arran Rangi of the Green Party also came last in Ashfield (won by Labour on the day before the 18 year old’s history exam, meaning he went home before he had found out how he had done.

Finally, in Derby South the Lib Dem’s Joe Harjinder Singh Naitta came behind UKIP, the Conservatives and the majority winners Labour, as he picked up 1229 votes.

The Sikh participation and outcome is detailed more analytically in a press release from the Sikh Council. For this press release, or more information, please get in touch via Media@SikhPA.com.

 

Jay Singh Sohal

Sikhi and Conservative Principles – Jay Singh Sohal

Following our recent General Election posts, here we share the thoughts of Jay Singh-Sohal, Communications and Media Engagement Consultant. A Conservative since 18, he was chairman of Brunel Conservatives and a member of Sikh Tories. He has actively campaigned for Brexit and in support of Conservative candidates all over the country.

NOTE – Please note – Sikh PA are an apolitical organisation and share this to promote political dialogue within the Sikh community. We have previously shared thoughts on Sikhs advocating the Green Party, Jeremy Corbyn as PM and abstaining.


 

While Sikhi is unique and does not fit onto the party political spectrum, there are values that it does share with conservative principles. This includes upholding duty, tradition and family values.

For me my conservatism stems from my belief and understanding of Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji’s teachings of vand shakna and kirat karni (share your wealth and earn an honest living).

These form the basis of Sikh thought but are also traditional conservative principles which are manifested through compassion and charity.

We can see the fruition of this, when in a low tax liberal economy individuals keep more of the money they work hard for and can then chose how to spend it, whether on themselves their loved ones or good causes.

‘Basics of Sikhi’ is a good example of the latter, a charitable endeavour from a community which can achieve success when funded by through the grassroots and not the state.

If people were taxed significantly more, as would happen under Labour, their money might be redistributed (although much would go into bureaucracy) but just giving wouldn’t occur, nor would those spiritually enlightened to give dasvandh (or a tithe) benefit from the ghun (virtue) of giving.

Elusive logo

When the Guru supported the better man – post from Elusive Fighter

The following article has been taken from a post made by the Art of Elusive Fighting page, a Sikh martial-arts social media account. Based on Jeremy Corbyn’s political ethos, this article uses references to Sikh history to advocate Sikhs voting for Labour (to bring Jeremy Corbyn into power).

Please note – Sikh PA are an apolitical organisation and share this to promote political dialogue within the Sikh community. We have previously shared thoughts on Sikhs advocating the Green Party and abstaining. 

Please read, share and comment!


 
There are many that keep ‘their politics separate’. There are others who think Sikhs should not get involved and focus only on our own raaj* (we live in the UK..?).

I’ve not taken any interest in elections for 2 decades (all my adult life). Why? Because it has always been clear after some basic reaearch and checking candidates manifestos, as well as the consistency (lack of) in their ideals… that these parties were simply one corrupt beast in different bodies (be it Labour or Tories).

But since Corbyn has taken control of Labour, I have been watching him with interest. He has always had the courage to speak his mind, speak against whomever he feels is warmongering, against those who put short term gain above long term stability, against those who create rules to empower the rich and further weaken the poor, against those who happily deal and trade with oppressive terrorist supporting regimes, against the ruin of our once world class public services (e.g. Education, NHS etc).. etc.

Here is a man who genuinely tries to embody Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s wisdom of ‘Sarbat da Bhalla’ (betterment of all mankind). Here is man who is a voice for the oppressed and the poor. Here is a man who is willing to challenge those in his own family (Party) when they step into the realm of corruption. Here is a man who does not degrade himself to the level of sleazy propoganda and feel the need to degrade, lie about or insult his opposition.

Looking to puratan ithihaas (traditional Sikh history), we learn that the Khalsa is Niyara (Unique and Independent) and supports only dharam (just rule) and the greater good. In ithihaas a wonderful example is given when Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji gives his support to Bahadur Shah who previously challenged his own TYRANT father Emporer Aurangzeb when he was ordered to fight the Guru. Guru provides help by way of Khalsa soldiers to help Bahadur Shah defeat his brother who has snatched his rule. Guru supports the better man, one who will ‘not be a tyrant’. Guru helps him to the throne of rule.

Further, and as an important caveat, Guru later refuses to help Bahadur Shah fight against the Marathas, who are on the war path in retaliation for the atrocities meted out by Bahadurs Tyrant grandfather.

Guru (Khalsa) can give but can also take. Then can support, but can retract the support depending on the scenario (dharam).

Today, you all have a chance to apply GurMat principles and show support for someone who refuses to sell arms to those who supply ISIS. Who is prepared to do immense work to bring respectability to our public services and support to our poor again.

Do the right thing. Vote ‘Corbyn’. This is your chance to change the face of 3 decades of corrupt, propoganda lead politics.

Sri Gur Panth Prakash

Chaupai :(Thereupon) Farukhsiar responded to (their instigation) by saying, That his grandfather (Bahadur Shah) had given him an advice. He had advised that there existed a house (dynasty) of Nanak, with whom he (Farukhsiar) must not enter into any conflict.

When his great grand father (Aurangzeb) had felt offended (with the Guru), He had ordered Farukhsiar’s grandfather to wage a war against the Guru. But his grandfather (Bahadurshah) did not proceed against the Guru, and sent his soldiers to work in favour of the Guru.

On that day, the Guru had told his grandfather (Bahadur Shah), that he (the Guru) had blessed him (Bahadur Shah) with a sovereignty. The Guru had made his grandfather a sovereign with active support, Otherwise how could he become sovereign without Guru’s (support).

*Raaj = Rule.

NSYF Logo

The Sikh vote: A conscience choice – NSYF Article

The following article is written by Ranveer Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation, a write up in response of the recent first ever Sikh community hustings. NOTE – Sikh PA are an apolitical organisation. In the run up we have previously shared articles where Sikhs have advocated the Green Party and other forms of thinking. We seek to provide a platform for political discussion.

For more thoughts and writings from Ranveer Singh, follow him on @RanveerSP on Twitter.


 

On Tuesday evening the Sikh Press Association hosted the first ever Hustings event for UK Sikhs. In the spirit of open debate and freedom of speech, the panel included representatives from both the Labour and Conservative parties, as well as a spokesperson from the National Sikh Youth Federation (NSYF).

The discussion was centered around questions which directly affect Sikh identity and Sikh affairs, with the aim of answering which Party, if any, can best represent the Sikhs following this Thursday’s General Election. The manner with which both Party representatives spoke suggested there to be a disconnect between how British politicians who self-identify as Sikhs, view the House of Guru Nanak with the position put forward by Panthic minded Sikhs.  It appears both Bally Singh (Labour) and Kulveer Singh (Conservative) view Sikhi as the “ism” it morphed into following the colonial encounter in Panjab. However, those of a Panthic view, such as Shamsher Singh (NSYF) understand that Sikhi is not the ism it has become over the last century or so because the colonial moves to throw our revolutionary Panth into a labyrinth of religiosity is an affront to the Guru’s institute of Miri-Piri.

Nevertheless, Sikhs living in the UK are naturally compelled to engage in society and have worked tirelessly to gain recognition and rights for our distinct way of life, be that on grounds of identity or conduct. When accepted it has always been restricted to the grounds of “religion”, and from a British perspective, understandably so. Despite this, Sikhs have contributed towards alleviating social ills with active grass roots engagement. It is our Guru-inspired Sikhia which has compelled us to rise-up and fix broken Britain. Whether it’s groups such as Sikh Welfare Awareness Team (SWAT) who unilaterally take the Guru’s institution of Langar on to the streets of London for the poor and impoverished, or groups such as Sikh Awareness Society (SAS) who highlight the issue of sexual grooming, particularly in the North of the country; Sikhs continuously provide band aid remedies to the shortcomings of a government that has failed its people.

However, we also acknowledge that by engaging with the establishment we inevitably legitimise the political structures that control and steer the overall governance in this country. By engaging within the political system, we legitimize domestic and foreign UK policy from the past, present and for the future. This is the existential crisis of a Sikh living in 21st century Britain, imposed entirely by our residence here. We find ourselves constantly trying to reconcile Guru inspired principles that demand we work to establish equality and liberty for all, with a system built on the exploits of its colonial past, for which is has yet to deliver any redemption. There is no denying that. The UK is where it is today because of the global violence, conquest and exploitation it was overtly responsible for up until the last century.

Today it is projected as a leading power in the world, the epicenter of democracy and modernity; all the while it is engaged in proxy wars to destablise the Middle East. Let us not forget it was only in the last decade that Britain waged an illegal war of aggression in Iraq. The Chilcot inquiry revealed how MI5 actively sent British Libyans and exiles back to Libya to fight alongside the rebel fighters to overthrow Gaddafi, the man who had given up his nukes just months after the decimation of Iraq!

As Sikhs of Guru Nanak our conscience does not allow us to ignore the above, no matter how much change is promised. Are we that naive to think change will come from the heirs of colonial rule, who have yet to address and remedy the problems they created all over the world? Jeremy Corbyn is the standout candidate, but is he willing to apologise for their colonial ways and expose the inhumane foundations upon which 21st century Britain stands?

Guru Nanak advocated a new socio-political dynamic with an emphasis on eradicating all hierarchies and inequalities, whether social, political, economic or religious. The establishment of institutions such as Langar for example, challenged social norms of division perpetuated by exploitative social power structures. In this way Guru Nanak laid the foundations for his successors to create a state within a state; founded on principles of compassion, equality and love but fired with the spirit of fearlessness, dignity and self-respect.

Guru Nanak’s condemnation of all forms of exploitation and inequality should serve as the bedrock of our social and political engagement with society today. We understand the Guru did not just highlight the hypocrisy of power structures, he provided an alternative and paved a new path by introducing Sikh scripture as the guide complete with a distinct culture as well as the construction of centers, towns and cities all of which were built on the foundations of his unique ideology.

The Guru’s method was direct governance which is why the culmination of 200 years of Gur-gaddi resulted in the formation of the Khalsa, a self-governing, self-administering assembly of Sikh who were ordained to capture political power with the overall objective of establishing an egalitarian society.

If you decide to engage with the political system in Britain today, do not get drawn into cross party politics. Instead engage with full acceptance of this country’s colonial past which continues to haunt people across the globe. Engage in full knowledge of its current foreign policy which arms an oppressive state to bomb innocent civilians, which in turn creates millions of refugees who are exploited having lost their freedom, dignity, justice and happiness.

But most importantly do so knowing that this is not what the Guru advocated. The Guru gave Paatshahi to his Sikh, he made each one of us sovereign and empowered us to follow his example of shaking the echelons of corrupt power. It is up to us whether we leave our revolutionary Sikhi to one side and adorn the garb of its colonial imposter Sikhism, and continue to regurgitate what the master taught us. Or we enact that Guru given Paatshahi and collectively step into unchartered territory to deliver on the Guru’s mandate in a capitalist driven, post-colonial world.

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The Sikh MP race – #GE2017

The Sikh Press Association will be tweeting about the UK General Election results LIVE through election night (June 8th after polls close at 10pm). As the votes are counted, we will be letting you know how the Sikh candidates have done in their constituencies and sharing election news relevant to the Sikh community.

Follow us via @SikhPA to keep up to date with the General Election Sikh story.

See below for details on the prospective Sikh candidates.


Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi is standing for Labour in Slough following the retirement of incumbent Fiona Mactaggart. This seat in Berkshire has been Labour since 1997 and has a large Sikh Punjabi population. The previous Labour MP here took the seat with nearly 50% of the vote.

In Wolverhampton South West, Paul Uppal (Conservative) is hoping to regain the seat that Labour won with the slender majority of 801 in 2015. Jagmeet Singh of the newly formed Panth Party is also contesting this marginal and all eyes in the community are on how this new candidate pledging a strictly Sikh ethos performs.

Either Tanmanjeet or Jagmeet could be the UK’s first ever turban wearing Sikh MP.

Preet Kaur Gill is contesting the marginal seat of Birmingham Edgbaston as a Labour Co-operative candidate. Labour held onto this seat in 2015 by under 3,000 votes. If elected she will become the UK’s first Sikh female MP.

Bally Singh (Labour) is standing in Kenilworth and Southam in Warwickshire. The seat is currently held by the Attorney General for England and Wales Jeremy Wright, who enjoys a comfortable majority for the Conservatives.

In Telford, Kuldip Sahota is standing for the Labour Party. The Conservatives currently hold this seat with a majority of less than 2%, making for a tight race.

Samir Jassal is the Conservative Party candidate for Feltham and Heston, a seat currently held by Labour’s Seema Malhotra with a majority of more than 11,000.

In the relatively new seat of Hornchurch and Upminster, Rocky Gill is standing for Labour against a 24% Conservative majority in the constituency.

Three Sikhs running for one seat! Looking to remove Labour’s Khalid Mahmood from a seat he has held since 2001 will be Harjun Singh, standing for the Lib Dems in Birmingham Perry Barr, where Vijay Rana runs for the Green Party along with Harjinder Singh for UKIP.

Manjinder Singh Kang is standing in Tewkesbury for the Labour Party, battling against a solid Conservative majority of nearly 22,000.

Having been runners up in 2015, Vijay Srao takes over from UKIP’s Chris Adams in Aylesbury, hoping to take them past the majority winning Conservatives.

Joe Harjinder Singh Naitta is standing in Derby South for the Lib Dems, looking to gain ground on his Labour, Conservative and UKIP counterparts who all bested his vote count in 2015.

Attempting to go from Councillor to MP is Reena Ranger for the Conservatives, running in Birmingham Hall Green, where she will need to oust the overwhelming Labour majority of 28,000 in 2015.

This year Arran Rangi becomes the first ever Green Party candidate to run in Ashfield this General Election.

In Warwick and Leamington Bob Dhillon will look to help UKIP claim back some of the Conservatives’ massive 24,000 majority.

 

 

 
Reena Ranger

Party logos

Sikh Community General Election 2017 Hustings – Register here

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/sikh-press-association-9573274089?s=76402971 – register here to attend.


 

How should Sikhs vote?

Join us for an evening of discussion and debate on the UK General Election 2017, as the Sikh Press Association host a Sikh community Election hustings. What should Sikhs consider before voting? Which party best represents Sikh interests? How should we vote? Hear from Sikh political party campaigners and more.

The event will see a panel with a guest each from Sikhs For Labour – representing the view Sikhs should vote for Labour, Sikh Tories – representing the view Sikhs should vote for the Conservatives, and the National Sikh Youth Federation – representing the view of abstaining. These representatives will have YOUR questions put to them about their views on how Sikhs should vote. So get involved and register to attend here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-should-sikhs-vote-tickets-34888630834.

LIMITED SPACE – Please ensure you only register for tickets if you are certain to attend.

DATE: Tuesday, June 6th

SCHEDULE:

6.30pm – 7.00pm Refreshments & Networking
7.00pm – 8.00pm Hustings
8.00pm – 8.30pm Networking

LOCATION: Room 201- Skempton Building, Imperial College Union, Prince Consort Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2BB. Five minute walk from South Kensington Underground Station (follow signs for ImperialCollege).

 

Rajasthan Sikh attack

Sikh victim of attack claims cops encouraged mob

Video and article via NDTV

Sikh PA share this news as further proof of claims long made by the Sikh community internationally, regarding state perpetrated oppression and targeted abuse/attacks faced by minority communities in India. Sikhs are approximately 2% of the population of India.

 

A mob drags four Sikh men out of a Bolero SUV and thrashes them mercilessly. Some villagers watch sullenly, others kick one of the four who has fallen and is lying face down. Next to him, the widely-shared video of the mob violence in Rajasthan’s Ajmer last month shows another elderly man groaning as he too appears unable to get up.

The Rajasthan State Minorities Commission has taken note of the horrific video taken on 24 April and sought a report from detailing the sequence of events and the action taken by the Ajmer police. But the person who took the video and posted it online may also get into trouble.”This should not be seen as a communal incident. It seems one party was aggrieved and so acted the way they did,” the minorities commission chairman Jasbir Singh said.

“However, we will not only take action against the perpetrators but also against persons who made these videos and posted them online… leading to tension between communities,” Mr Singh, who heads the panel to protect rights of minorities in the state, told NDTV.

According to the police, the four men who faced the wrath of the mob were a group of sevadars, or volunteers, from a gurudwara in Alwar’s Khairtal locality. They stopped at Rajgarh village on the Ajmer-Nasirabad highway to seek alms for the Gurudwara’s langar, or free kitchen.

But one of the women in the village felt she had been hypnotised by them.
The villager later took the four to the police and insisted that the police register a case against them. The volunteers from the gurudwara, however, turned down an offer from the police to register a cross-case.

Ajmer district police chief Rajendra Singh said the police had been “apprised of the video that has gone viral” and would investigate it.

Via CatchNews.com 

It now turns out that a police constable was present at the scence of the crime. If the victims are to be believed, the constable not only failed to save them, he was actively encouraging the mob to continue thrashing them.

The victims – all of whom were Sewadars (volunteers) from Alwar, had come to Naseerabad village in Ajmer to collect grains for their langar.

“I think the incident took place around April 24, we were going from door-to-door when suddenly a few people first hurled expletives at us. Soon a mob gathered around us, before we could understand what’s happening, we were being heckled, kicked and slapped by the mob,” Nirmal, one of the victims, told Times of India.

Apparently a police constable was present at the scene and he did nothing to try and save the Sikh men.

“The police constable didn’t save us, instead he asked the violent mob to continue attacking us. He asked mob to teach four of us a lesson but warned them not to attack us on heads,” Nirmal told the Times of India.

“We begged them to leave us, but nobody paid any heed to our cries. We were being attacked with sticks and shoes, people slapped us for no reason,” Kuldeep, another victim, told TOI.

According to some reports the mob attack was sparked by a rumour that the Sikhs molested local women and they were thrashed.

What’s more, a complaint was reportedly filed against the victims! Sure enough, it was found that the Sikhs weren’t involved in any act of molestation and the attack was entirely unprovoked.

This is similar to the recent incident in Jharkhand in which men falsely accused of being child-traffickers, were lynched to death.

In Rajasthan itself, cattle trader Pehlu Khan was lynched to death by Hindutva vigilantes in Alwar in March this year.

According to Additional Director General of Police (law and order) N Ravindra Kumar Reddy, the incident had occurred “nearly a month-and-a-half ago in Chainpura village falling under Nasirabad Sadar police station of Ajmer district.

kps gill cunt face

Reactions to death of “The Butcher of Punjab”

Condemned by Human Rights groups for “illegal” and “brutal” policing methods, accused of “kicking” someone to death, convicted of sexual harassment, banned from entering the UK… and hailed as a hero by Indian media. Here we share some of the mixed reactions to the death of KPS Gill. 


Today Indian media announced the death of former Director General of Panjab Police,  Kanwar Pal Singh Gill.

Harjap kps tweet

In passing, Indian state media has largely hailed KPS Gill as a “super cop”, claiming he “crushed militancy” in Punjab. However, reaction from the Sikh community, as well as many other conscientious objectors, speak of a very different legacy the “Butcher of Punjab” has left.

Kps Gill machaud good he is dead supercop cunt headline

How Indian media have reported his death.

 

KPS Gill led what the Indian government called a crackdown on “Sikh militancy” in Punjab from 1984-1995, directly after the period of the state perpetrated Sikh genocide of 1984. Human Rights Watch groups labelled much of this campaign “illegal”, as it involved openly torturing and killing masses of mainly young Sikh men, with statistics showing genocidal type figures of deaths.

Dr Devinder Singh kps tweet

 

Many Indians called for state media to report the darker side of KPS Gill’s legacy in the light much of the Sikh community view it in.

India Explained KPS tweet

 

 

 

One of the most notable tragedies of KPS Gill’s time as the head of Punjab’s police force was the murder, for which he was directly implicated, of Sikh activist Jaswant Singh Khalra. Khalra had investigated unclassified cremations to determine the unaccounted for disappearances of tens of thousands of Sikhs, an investigation he took all the way to Canadian parliament. During a visit to Punjab to further his investigations, Khalra was arrested and subsequently went “missing” himself. In 2007 four police officers were convicted of his murder. Despite being heavily linked with the process of the murder, KPS Gill avoided prosecution.

Garga C Khalra KPS Gill tweet

 

 

Nevertheless, KPS Gill is still a celebrated figure among many Indians. Yet, something telling about the legacy of Gill is the fact there are disputes about whether his methods – which were also used in Sri Lanka from 2000-2004 and Assam in the early 80s, with both reigns equally condemned for their savagery – would be allowed today, in an era where there can be more scrutiny on the actions of state figures such as Gill.

Gappistan KPS Gill tweet

The reaction to such discussions can build a picture of a section of Indian patriots who do not revere KPS Gill despite his shockingly murderous rule as Police Chief, but actually because of it. Even with the clear bloody stains on his reputation, the dignitaries and celebrities of India largely still commended him in passing, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A campaign has even begun to have him awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.

kps gill right or wrong tweet

Outside of his police actions which won him the title of “The Butcher of Punjab, Gill was also charged with “kicking” to death a man in the state of Assam (but was acquitted in court),  convicted of sexual harassment in 1996, caused the suspension of the entire India Hockey Federation for his corruptness as president of the organisation (for which he was also sacked) and was even banned from entering the UK for the 2012 Olympics, despite being one of the countries most senior hockey reps, after pressure on the British government from Human Rights groups.

Very little of any of the aforementioned has been reported by mainstream Indian state media in his obituaries. Whilst perhaps some of what he is accused of could be argued against or even justified by some in India, the fact that the Hindustan Times, India’s most read newspaper, mentions his reign as president of the IHF without mention of how he lost the position, paints a clear picture of how they and most state media aim to portray KPS Gill.

Praise of KPS Gill largely revolves around his horrific reign in Punjab. For many Sikhs and human rights supporters in India though, the only praise around Gill refers to his death.

KPS Gill murdering pos tweet

 

For more information on Sikh community reaction to the death of KPS Gill, or further comment from Sikh PA, email Media@SikhPA.com.