france turban ban

British Sikh student refused placement in France due to turban

A Sikh student of Kings College London (KCL) has had his degree put in jeopardy after a French school he was due to work in for an overseas placement refused his position.
On October 3rd M.Singh Pandhal was told that due to strict application of Laicité, the French secularist law, his role as a teaching assistant was rescinded. As a Sikh, M.Singh wears a dastar (Sikh turban). In order to complete a degree in French and Management, KCL students must spend one year studying abroad in a French speaking environment.

“I feel disappointed and frustrated with this situation. French authorities allowed me to settle here, knowing what I came for, without telling me anything until I walked into the school. When I came in the headmaster did not even greet me, he just began questioning me on my dastar. I was later told I would not be allowed to work in any public school in France.”

M.Singh is currently speaking with both the Sikh Federation UK, who have long lobbied the UK government to challenge the discriminatory European law also observed in countries such as Belgium and Turkey, along with the Representative Council of Sikhs of France (RCSF), in order to remedy the situation and allow the British student to complete his degree.

With his application to work abroad as part of his degree going through the British Council, it leaves questions as to how much responsibility the educational institution will take in ensuring all British students – including Sikhs – get a fair chance to use their services.

 

KCL released the following statement to the Sikh Press Association regarding the situation:

All King’s College London students studying or working abroad through our schemes are made aware of legislation in country and of local customs which may affect them.

As an institution the safety and welfare of our 30,000 students and staff is paramount.  King’s is proud of its diverse and inclusive community, which comprises students and staff from more than 150 countries, from all backgrounds and faiths. We are committed to respect for all of our students and staff.

Our procedures are under regular scrutiny and a review of this case with the student involved is already underway.

Ranjit Singh, director of RCSF, who is taking up the issue with French authorities, stated, “Our goal is find an alternative solution with the French academy. We thank KCL for their support during this period. We are seeking support from any organisations that believe in freedom of religion.

“Sikhs once proudly wore their daastars, refusing helmets, to fight for the freedom of France in both World War One and World War Two. It is disappointing it is now seen as a barrier in working for the state, whereas once it symbolised protection of the state.”

Earlier this year, the French turban ban was criticised by newly elected Slough Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, a dastar wearing Sikh, in his maiden speech, calling it a “warped interpretation of secularism”.

For more information on this story or to arrange interview opportunities, please email Media@SikhPA.com.

Grooming headline - INdy

“Grooming gangs are more organised than the Govt understands” – SYUK

Following news of stats showing a 62% rise in cases of child sexual exploitation, social reform community group Sikh Youth UK released a statement on the issue.

The award winning Sikh ethos group regularly tackle cases of sexual grooming and feel the UK Government are unable to deal with the problem because of a lack of understanding about how the gangs operate. See below for the statement in full.

SYUK Statement – 09/10/17.

“The issue of grooming gangs in the UK is worse than even the recent statistics show. The fact is, these gangs are more organised and more strategic than it seems UK government authorities understand. In many situations they are simply able to work within the law, leading to a grey area which has allowed this most callous and seedy of practices to spiral out of control.

“This is why the problem is neglected and this is why we have hundreds of families turn to us to help tackle this issue. Many have seen first hand the devastating impact of a vulnerable young girl becoming the target of a grooming gang; whether it’s to brainwash them into going to join ISIS in Syria or simply coerced into a life of prostitution.

“Sikh Youth UK work with social workers and counsellors within the framework of a Sikh ethos support network to provide the help these girls need to escape the hellish clutches of a grooming gang. We will continue to do so and urge any victims or concerned families to come forward to us.”

LW17 - Saka Panja Sahib

When Sikhs sacrificed their lives for Langar – #LangarWeek

Langar as an institution is so important to Sikhs that they’ve sacrificed their lives in order to maintain it.  – an article by Shamsher Singh of NSYF.


 

On 31st October 1922 as ਸਾਕਾ ਪੰਜਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ (Saka Panja Sahib); ਸਾਕਾ (saka – historic event where rare courage and valour was displayed). This saka (demonstration) displayed the indomitable spirit of the Sikhs in a unique and explicitly Sikh way.

It personified and made tangible the sovereignty of mind and body that was bestowed upon the downtrodden people of Punjab when they became the Sikhs of the Guru; it displayed the transformation of an individual Sikh into a member of the Khalsa Panth and the price we will willingly pay for the love we bear for the Guru and his beloved Sikhs.

When the Sikhs that lived around Panja Sahib heard that the train carrying the prisoners from the morcha (protest) would be passing through the nearby town of Hassan Abdul, they gathered at the station in the early morning with langar. They were told by a colonial station officer that the train would not be stopping and that they were wasting their time. The gathered Sikhs asked the agent of the occupier if the train could be stopped briefly so that they could serve langar to the elders.

As all requests made to the oppressor, this one too fell on deaf ears. Bhai Karam Singh (in his late twenties) sat down on the tracks. It is recorded that Bhai Karam Singh said, “Guru Nanak stopped a boulder with one hand, there’s so many of us here today, we can easily stop the train“. Bhai Partaap Singh (aged 24) sat down next to him.

My parents told me that before long Sikhs were fighting to sit at the front near Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Partaap Singh. Mothers were sitting down with their children. As the train approached the Sikhs were shouting jaikareh.

Like all machinery of the oppressor, the Train only stopped when it couldn’t get through the mangled bodies of those that resisted.

The word ਲੰਗਰ (langar) has it’s origins in the Punjabi word for anchor. Shaheed Bhai Karam Singh and Shaheed Bhai Partaap Singh realised the significance of langar; it’s what rooted them to the ground in front of that train.

Whether it was in the 18th century when Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh gave langar to Sikh jujaroos and was scalped for it, or the 20th century when Sikh families in Punjab served langar to Khalistani freedom fighters only to become targets of state terror, langar has always gone hand in hand with Sikh revolution and Sikhs have willingly embraced it’s reality as active participants within the sangharsh (struggle for liberation).

Arjan Singh jab

Sikh fighter wins UFC debut & says “I want to bring awareness to what my people are about”

This weekend the first ever South-Asian to compete in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) won his debut fight and declared his determination to “educate people” on the Sikh faith.

Arjan Singh Bhullar took his MMA (mixed martial-arts) record to 7-0 following a three-round unanimous decision points win against Brazilian contender Luis Henrique at the UFC 215 event in Edmonton, Canada. In a post fight interview (shared below) the former Olympic level wrestler attributed his fighting prowess to his faith.

“The founders of our religion practiced wrestling. Those that know me know my blood burns hot. My lineage comes down from the Sikh warriors…this life (as a professional combat athlete) is a no-brainer for me.”

Arjan Singh also spoke of his desire to create more understanding about the Sikh identity, and plans to do so by wearing a turban during his ring entrances, something he has previously done.

“It (the turban) is symbolic of the Sikh people. You look at our defence minister (Harjit Singh Sajjan of Canada), he wears a turban, that’s what Sikhs are. I want to educate people and bring awareness to what my people are about.

“It is something I am prideful for. When I walked out to the Olympic games (representing Canada in 2012) I was front-row next to our flag bearer and I had my turban on and people around the world recognised, ‘that’s one of our people’.

“The founders of our religion do that (wear turbans) because as a people we standout, we are unique, and that’s something I want to empower people to be. Be unique, standout. You see a guy with a beard and a turban and you know he is a Sikh.”

Check out the full interview here.

NOTE – The term for the Sikh turban is Dastaar. Practicing Sikhs will not remove the Dastaar in public except in extreme circumstances.

Lord Singh

Lord Singh expands on concerns about “too much political correctness” regarding grooming gangs

Yesterday evening Lord Singh joined Sikh Youth UK on the Sikh Channel to follow up on his letter to The Times and discuss his belief about “a problem with the Pakistani Muslim community”.

Calling in to the weekly Sikh Youth Show, crossbench peer Lord Singh of Wimbledon spoke with sevadaars (selfless volunteers) of SYUK, along with Sikh Channel TV presenter and Sikh community figure Kam Singh, relaying his belief that Sarah Champion was sacked by the Labour Party for “simply speaking the truth” and “daring to speak up for victims”.

On the show, available to view via the link below, Lord Singh stated on the issue of grooming gangs in the UK,  “If we don’t look at what is happening we will never get anywhere. There is a problem with the Pakistani Muslim community. That is not to say that all Muslims are guilty, that is absolutely wrong. It is a small proportion of Muslims that behave in that way. But if anyone says it they are immediately branded a racist”.

Lord Singh was also damning of the Sikh community regarding perceived hesitations against speaking out about grooming gangs.

“Within our own Sikh community people play to political correctness or political affiliation before they dare say anything. We are Sikhs; we should be honest and speak for truth and justice. I speak up for all sorts of communities because human rights should be respected. It is obligatory for Sikhs not to put their head in the sand.”

Check out the full show here – https://youtu.be/lCoxy-pZFAQ (Lord Singh interview starts from 8.30 minutes in).

Lord Singh

Lord Singh speaks out against grooming gang roots cover-up

Letter from Network of Sikh Organisations slams Labour Party for  “the betrayal of victims, who are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness”.


Lord Singh of Wimbledon commended those “speaking up on a clear trend” of “the conviction of men of largely Pakistani Muslim heritage in sexual grooming cases” in a letter published in today’s Times.

The letter, which came via the Network of Sikh Organisations and was cosigned by six other religious groups, commended Sarah Champion and Amina Lone for highlighting the role of Pakistani Muslim men in cases of sexual grooming gangs, whilst also condemning the Labour Party, who sacked the two former members for speaking out.

Sikh organisations and individuals have openly claimed Sikh girls have been targeted because of their faith for decades, something addressed in the letter, with Lord Singh declaring “For decades, Hindu, Sikh, and Christian organisations have raised concerns about grooming gangs. The latter have plagued our communities, so much so that a BBC documentary on the targeting of Sikhs was aired a few years ago”. This is an issue that organisations like Sikh Youth UKSikh Helpline and Sikh Awareness Society (who cosigned the letter) still tackle to this day.

In the letter crossbench peer Lord Singh goes on to call Labour leadership “weak”, declaring “It’s not racist or Islamophobic to raise a matter of significant public concern” and that “we cannot ignore the race of the perpetrators, but neither can we ignore the fact that victims of sexual grooming gangs are almost always non-Muslim”.

The statement was welcomed by many within the Sikh community, much of whom feel tackling sexual grooming gangs is one of the most important issues of the public in the UK.

For more information or quotes from Sikh organisations named in this article, email Media@SikhPA.com.

Letter in full

Sir, 

We commend Sarah Champion and the Muslim councillor Amina Lone for speaking up on a clear trend in criminality: the conviction of men of largely Pakistani Muslim heritage in sexual grooming cases. Despite being sacked from the shadow cabinet, Champion continues to make a courageous stand (‘Left turns a blind eye to sex crimes, says MP’, Sep 2, ands ‘I’d rather be called a racist than turn a blind eye to child abuse’, Saturday interview). Rochdale, Rotherham, and recently Newcastle are examples of a significant number of convictions, highlighting an obvious pattern. However, it’s not just white girls who fall victim. For decades, Hindu, Sikh, and Christian organisations have raised concerns about grooming gangs. The latter have plagued our communities, so much so that a BBC documentary on the targeting of Sikhs was aired a few years ago. The common denominator is that victims almost always tend to be non-Muslim girls. We are dismayed by the Labour leadership’s weak response. We are not willing to see the betrayal of victims, who are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. It’s not racist or Islamophobic to raise a matter of significant public concern. Smearing those speaking an inconvenient truth is unacceptable. Champion is undoubtedly right that we cannot ignore the race of the perpetrators, but neither can we ignore the fact that victims of sexual grooming gangs are almost always non-Muslim.

LORD SINGH OF WIMBLEDON, Network of Sikh Organisations; MOHAN SINGH, Sikh Awareness Society; WILSON CHOWDHRY, British Pakistani Christian Association; SATISH SHARMA, National Council of Hindu Temples; ANIL BHANOT, Hindu Council UK; TRUPTI PATEL, Hindu Forum of Britain; ASHISH JOSHI, Sikh Media Monitoring Group.

Huff Post - sant ji headline

Responses to Huffington Post anti-Sant Jarnail Singh article

“The comparisons drawn by TS Sudhir between Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in a recent Huffington Post India article are erroneous at best, and calculated at worst.”
– Harwinder Singh, Naujawani.com. (full post linked below).


Note – we have not provided links to the anti-Sikh articles mentioned in this post to stop the pages from gaining further hits, which could in turn encourage outlets to publish such pieces.

On August 26 Huffington Post India published an article which compared revered Sikh saint Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale with recently convicted rapist and so-called spiritual leader Ram Rahim.

The article highly offended masses of the Sikh community and was also accused of blatant distortion of recent Indian history, specifically the events surrounding the rise of Sant Jarnail Singh which occurred in the 1980s. The article, written by TS Sudhir, was perceived as a typical example of the anti-Sikh rhetoric which Indian media often propagates. Recent examples of this include citing 84 year old hunger strike activist Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa as a “radical”, as well as labeling fabled Sikh school Damdami Taksal as “hardline”.

This week Sikh PA have been speaking directly with the Huffington Post India editorial team to discuss our concerns about the article. Following our discussions we can confirm the following;

  • Huffington Post India will publish a response we are working on with the National Sikh Youth Federation.
  • The original piece now includes a statement from ourselves.

Sikh PA Huff post statement

  • The headline has been changed, removing the comparison to Sant Jarnail Singh.
Huff Post - sant ji headline

The original headline.

Huff post - sant ji New headline

The new headline.

 

What exactly is wrong with the article?

Here we share some posts which specifically detail what is wrong with article.

A Nefarious Comparison

The following is a post by Harwdiner Singh, Senior Editor of Sikh social and political commentary news website Naujawani.com. Harwinder Singh points out inaccuracies in TS Sudhir’s piece, as well as highlighting how the tone of the article is nefariously anti-Sikh.

“The comparisons drawn by TS Sudhir between Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in a recent Huffington Post India article are erroneous at best, and calculated at worst. He takes great pains in his opening ambit to limit the comparisons to “the unholy culture of the politician-godmen nexus in India”. But his selective targeting of the subjects for the article exposes his unashamed blindness towards…”

Read the full post at https://naujawani.com/blog/a-nefarious-comparison.

 

Provocative Headlines can only go So Far…

Check out UK Sikh community figure Mankamal Singh explaining why the article will not impact the status of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale to the Sikh community.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=888175294662947&id=100004114531945.

 

Ethical Journalism

Harjit Kaur, Sikh activist and Commissioner for Santa Clara County’s Domestic Violence Council in the State of California, made this statement in reference to the article by TS Sudhir.

“Ethical journalism ensures the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. The article referenced falls short of this standard and the comparisons made are purely to demean and degrade Sikhs and Sikh history, while again stabbing at the raw wounds of 1984 and the Decade of Disappearances that followed.”

 

Ram Rahim is a “Singh”

Here you can see Harjinder Singh, Sikh educator and author, detail how India media coverage has looked to implicate the Sikh faith and community with Ram Rahim. Full thread on his Twitter.

 

Means to complain to Huffington Post

Here Sikh Youth Birmingham provide means for their followers to take complaints directly to Huffington Post.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1787630354598453&id=914482778579886

 

For any questions or further comment on this issue, email Media@SikhPA.com.

dm - sikh gang

Mail Online respond to our questions on inconsistent headlines

Earlier this month the Sikh Press Association began looking into the inconsistency of headlines by media outlets such as The Sun and Daily Mirror, in regards to the use of terms such as “Sikh and Asian”.

Today we can share a response from the Daily Mail managing editors team on this issue.

Firstly, the team who responded wish to make it clear “articles in the Daily Mail are regularly published by Mailonline, but the website generates a substantial amount of content of its own volition. The articles you cite were written solely by Mailonline journalists, though the stories themselves may well also have been covered by the paper in a different wording.”

The responding representative stated, “Mailonline have nothing but respect for the Sikh community, and the tremendous contribution it makes to British life. 

I’m therefore very sorry to hear that you, and the people you represent, are unhappy with the terminology utilised by Mailonline in the below articles. I am also very grateful to you for raising your concerns so directly with us, as it is very important to us to have constructive dialogue with all the communities we serve.”

The response went on to say they adhere to the “Editors’ Code of Practice, under which details of an individual’s race, colour or religion (though not nationality) are to be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.”

With this in mind, the headlines were clarified as such:

The use of “Sikh gang” in an article about passport scams by Afghanistani criminals was because “the fact the defendants were Sikh assisted them in their criminal endeavour”.

The use of “Asian gang” in an article about a sexual grooming gang from a predominantly Muslim background was because Mailonline “have no evidence to show that the gang were all Muslims”, whilst it was also claimed that a quote from one of the arrested groomers stated “‘All white women are good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth'” and this “suggested that their choice of women to abuse was based on racial rather than religious considerations, and therefore ‘Asian’ was more relevant than ‘Muslim’.”

Please note, the above statement directly contradicts the findings of groups like Sikh Youth UK, who continually tackle the issue and state that Sikh girls are often targeted by grooming gangs based on faith.

In an article about a Cardiff drug gang made up mainly of native Brits, no mention of faith or ethnicity was used, which Mailonline state was because “the ethnicity and religion of the Cardiff drug gang (on which, incidentally, we have no information) is irrelevant to the story and the case.”

Finally, in labelling self-proclaimed Sikh Harry Athwal a Brit in an article about his heroics after the Barcelona terror-attack, Mailonline stated it was because “His Sikhism is not mentioned by him” during their own interview with Harry Athwal (it was mentioned in his Good Morning Britain TV interview), whilst “His British nationality was deemed to be a detail worth focusing on, given the fact that events occurred abroad.”

This response follows our dialogue with The Sun on the same issue, who stated;
“The Sun recognises the hugely positive contribution that the Sikh community has made and continues to make to British society. Any fears that the Sikh community is being singled out are fundamentally misplaced.”

We were also asked to share stories which The Sun believes show positive examples of when the Sikh faith is referred to;

https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/709276/sikh-tv-presenter-is-riot-hero/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3818287/lorraine-kelly-grenfell-tower-fire-hope-humanity/

And an example of The Sun providing education on Sikhi;

https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/3323057/vaisakhi-2017-sikh-festival-uk-date/

The Sikh Press Association thank Mail Online for making their justification on these headlines clear. We are glad the lines of communication between our organisations are now open for any future issues with these media outlets.

Cov Gurdwara

Statement on Coventry Telegraph allegations of Sikh “extremism”

Coventry Sikh community figure and media commentator speak on the article which linked Sikhs to support for ISIS.


Yesterday newspaper Coventry Telegraph released an article which associated the Sikh community with “extremism”, and at one point even supporting ISIS.

The Sikh Press Association understands this article was only based on a report on Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash by the Charities Commission, as well as quotes from Piara Singh Thabal, a trustee of the Gurdwara. The article centres on allegations of “extremism” by a group of Sikhs trying to take over the Gurdwara “by force”.

In order to put this article into context, the Sikh Press Association wish to clarify some details on the article, as well as sharing statements from Sikhs with a deeper understanding of these issues.

Dawinderpal Singh, a freelance journalist with over 10 years of experience in the world of media, feels the article itself was written without any concern for the Sikh community and with very little research into the issue.

“The Coventry Telegraph seemed to have leapt at the chance to associate the words ‘Sikh’ and ‘extremist’.

“The only information they have provided on what this extremism involved is ‘leaflets with guns on it’. The newspaper has no information on what was written on those leaflets. The charities commission may have stated they felt ‘extremist’ material was in the Gurdwara, but when did they become experts on this topic?

“The fact is, lots of Sikh literature can come with pictures of weapons. To view this as extreme is to be ignorant of the Sikh faith and Sikh history. At this year’s 1984 Sikh genocide remembrance rally in London, which took place the day after the Westminster terror attack, thousands of Sikh men, women and children wore t-shirts and waved flags with guns on them. Were they all extremists?

“Media outlets and institutions like the charities commission need to do more to understand the relationship between Gurdwara committees and the Sikh community. Protests against committees are very common. It is absurd for anyone to take the opinion of a committee and hold that against a community that may be challenging their position of power.”

 

Hardip Singh Khalsa, a respected Coventry based Sikh community figure, is a Kirtani (devotional religious music singer) who is a regular at the Gurdwara in question. In his opinion, the issues in the Gurdwara come down to the current committee ostracising members of the congregation.

“Allegations of pressure from extremists is a huge exaggeration, whilst any relation to ISIS propaganda or ISIS supporters in the Gurdwara is something no one in Coventry except that committee member seems to have seen. It is terrible to see this random allegation make a newspaper.

“The current committee started getting problems from members of the Sikh community after they shutdown educational programs. There is an annual march in remembrance of victims of the Indian Army’s attack on Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) in London every year and it was leaflets of this event which the committee have outrageously labelled as extremist propaganda.

“The real issue is that the committee members – even when prompted with petitions and referred to points in the Gurdwara’s own constitution – have simply shut out any dialogue with other Sikh groups about how the Gurdwara is run. A Gurdwara is meant to be somewhere for education, sanctuary and more, whereas now it is being treated like a venue.”

 

Our involvement in the article

Within the first 30 minutes of the article being released, the Sikh Press Association were in discussion with the editorial team of Coventry Telegraph, in order to get clarity on the allegations made in the article. We discussed the following;

  • The use of the word “extremist/s”, which the Coventry Telegraph stated was used based on the Charities Commission report on the Gurdwara.
  • The links to ISIS, which only came from the opinion of Piara Singh Thabal. We suggested this needed to be verified by those that attend the Gurdwara regularly as sangat (congregation), and we encouraged Coventry based Sikhs to share their opinion on whether ISIS support was seen in the Gurdwara. These quotes from Thabal were later removed from the article.
  • The article URL still linking ISIS to the issue even after the quotes from Thabal were removed. The URL was than changed too.
  • The relationship between sangat and Gurdwara committees being a complex one, and something that regularly results in protests or challenges of committee power by sangat. It was our opinion that a Gurdwara committee member opinion of that nature must be balanced out by the opinion of someone associated with the Gurdwara but unaffiliated with the committee. The Coventry Telegraph have said they plan a follow up/amended version of the article with this in mind.

The article – in its amended form – is still available to view. We remain in dialogue with the Coventry Telegraph on this story and any follow-ups.

 

Photo: JP Asher.

“It was racial profiling” – Sikh man whose house was raided due to tyre “pop” issues statement

Family to proceed with complaint after officers ignored requests to remove shoes before entering room where Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Sikh scriptural Guru) was present.


Photo: JP Asher.

On August 23rd a Sikh family in Hitchin found themselves subjected to a highly aggressive armed raid by local police at their home.

The cause of the raid is alleged to have been a loud pop emanating from the car when a tyre burst.

Sukhi Singh Rayat shared with us a statement (seen below) which details what occurred which has forced the family to make a complaint against the police.

Statement from Sukhi Singh Rayat on the incident of a police raid on his house

On the 23rd August, my family (daughter aged 20, son aged 17 and mother aged 75) and I were on our way to Southall to shop for the Keertan Smagam in Hitchin Singh Sabha Gurdwara. En route to Southall we realised that I had a tyre puncture. Due to this we had to postpone our trip and drive home to call the RAC as soon as possible.

On arrival at home, my son daughter and mother went inside. I remained seated in my car in the drive way on the phone to the RAC. The RAC requested that I looked at the tyres and informed them of what number tyre the car had.

The moment I stepped out of the car I hear someone shout stop, and that was when my whole house was cornered off with seven police cars and 20 police men, 10 of whom were armed. I found myself being pushed against the wall, my hands being cuffed, dogs barking at me and three rifles being pointed at my head, my chest and my feet. I had no idea what had just happened. I found myself being pushed into a police vehicle.

While this was all happening my family were inside. Initially they asked my elder brother to shut the door, which he did. Then at the top of their voices demanded that they all came out of the house one by one. This is when my 17 year old son was violently pushed towards the wall and hand cuffed. Then came my elder brother. Both these two males had two guns pointing at their heads. They stood on the main road outside my house. After us three males were removed from the scene they asked my mother and my daughter to come out of the house. Both of them co-operated with no dispute.

Then they violently raided our house and insulted our religion. We had one request which was repeated three times to the officers about entering our room upstairs, where Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj was, and it was disregarded.

Why had this all happened? It all happened because the police had received a phone call from a passer-by who had claimed that they had seen myself and my son, who was sat in the front passenger seat, have firearms in our hands. This story from this ONE witness changed three times. Initially they saw a gun, then they saw my son make gun gestures, and finally they heard a “pop”.

We are hurt, but more importantly we are angry. We feel as though we are living in a society with institutions that are uneducated, and ignorant towards understanding culture, race and religion. We feel as though this whole operation is an example of racial profiling. The chief constable of north Hertfordshire has said sorry, but quite frankly, sorry is not enough.