Coventry Khalsa Akhara Boxing club image.

PRESS RELEASE – Sikhs welcome England Boxing’s decision to overturn beard ban

Amateur competitions now open to practicing Sikhs following rule change.


 

UK, Tuesday 13th March – Sikh ethos combat sport organisation Lions MMA led calls welcoming a decision to remove a ban on beards in amateur boxing competitions which prevented many from participating for religious reasons.

The change, announced today by Amateur Boxing Association England (England Boxing), starts from 1st June across England, whilst they have also pledged to ‘continue to lobby AIBA (International Boxing Association) to get the rule changed at an international level.’

 

Keeping kes (unshorn hair) is a mandatory part of the journey of following Sikhi, something all Sikhs will adhere to when committing to the faith, certified when becoming Amritdhari (an initiated Sikh, known as Khalsa).

Sevadaar (selfless volunteer) Indi Singh of Lions MMA, who run 11 boxing clubs across England, said of the decision, ‘This is great news. We run boxing clubs across the country but given our Sikh principles we could never advocate shaving to compete.

‘Sports like boxing will naturally appeal to Sikhs, given the warrior aspect of the faith. Now, we can happily encourage Sikhs into boxing and we are sure the sport will also benefit from more Sikhs being involved.

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A Lions MMA boxing class.

The ban was originally in place due to obscure beliefs about beards being a potential health hazard in the sport. Dr Harbir Singh, a respected osteopath that worked with the Great Britain squad in the 2012 London Olympics and has himself competed in combat sports, dismissed these concerns.

There is little substance behind the beard ban; demonstrated by the change in the Canadian amateur boxing association rule, following a court case which found no valid medical rationale for the beard ban.

‘Uncut beards are not coarse enough to cause abrasions. They offer no advantages to the bearded boxer.’

 

Canada Boxing changed their own rules on a beard ban in the year 2000 following a court-case led by Sikh amateur boxing star Pardeep Singh.

Lions MMA took up the issue of England Boxing’s beard ban and began dialogue with England Boxing about it after seeing a growth in young Sikhs feeling restricted from progressing in the sport because of it. One of these Sikhs, Karam Singh, now feels positive about carving himself a career path in the sport.

‘With Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s grace, I am now able to compete in amateur bouts. It has been a long and hard journey to get the ban removed, but Sikh PA, Lions MMA and Buddha Dal had successfully campaigned to England Boxing to overturn this ban to allow Sikhs to box.’

For more information or Sikh community reaction to the overturning of England Boxing’s beard ban, email Jasveer@SikhPA.com or call 07723966776.

See England Boxing’s statement on this rule change here.

 

French-Turban-Ban

French Sikhs make Global Appeal for Dastaar Struggle as Macron visits India

The Representative Council of French Sikhs (Conseil Représentatif des Sikhs de France) has today issued a global appeal to change a French regulation which constrains the wearing of the dastaar (turban) for Sikhs there.

The plea specifically asks the Sikh Kaum (community) to take this issue up wWhatsApp Image 2018-03-09 at 13.14.15ith the French government while French President Emmanuel Macron visits India from 9th to 12th March 2018.

A French government regulation in 2006 banned all head coverings, including the dastaar, on French ID pictures. This means that Sikhs are forced to take passport, driving license, public transport and student ID pictures with their dastaar removed. Removing the dastaar in public is a humiliating act for a Sikh. The dastaar is not a hat – it is a crown, given as a gift to a Sikh by their Guru which represents each Sikh’s sovereignty and royal status.

Many Sikhs believe the dastaar presents no identification problems as it does not in any way cover the face. Governments across the world permit ID pictures of dastaar wearing Sikhs. Because a Sikh always wears their dastaar in public, it has led to the ironic situation of a French Sikh’s ID picture looking less like how a Sikh appears in public, causing rather than preventing identification problems. The images included in this article are examples of a French Sikh’s ID pictures, where he has been forced to remove his dastaar.

Despite numerous pleas, including to the United Nations, the French government has maintained this stance, which many Sikhs feel is a degrading erasure of Sikh identity. Thousands of dastaar wearing Sikhs fought in both World Wars on French soil, defending the liberty that their descendants are denied today.

You can read the statement from R.G. Singh, President of the Representative Council of French Sikhs in full below:

 

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Global Appeal to the Panth

Paris, 9th March 2018

We appeal to the Panth to taken notice of the situation of Sikhs in France. The Dastaar Struggle is still on the table. Even after the success in the United Nations, the situation of Sikhs in France has not change at all. Each time, a French Sikh wants to apply for an Identity document, we are asked to remove our Dastaar on the picture. We need the support of Sikhs around the world, what is happening today in France can spread throughout Europe and hire in all Western countries.

Unfortunately, the Sikh Identity is not safe in France. We still have problem with French administration. The French Sikh community is struggling for their identity in French society, the Government regulation of 2006 on ID picture, in which they forbade all head cover such as Dastaar, is erasing the Sikh Identity in the French society. Even after the visit in 2012 in New Delhi of the former French President F. Hollande, this issue was not resolved.

Sikhs and France have a great shared history, friendship between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and King Louis Philippe 1er, to the French love in the province of Kapurthala. It is important to remember these strong historical connections that strengthened the French-Sikh friendship. This same friendship will occur during the Great Wars in France. The Dastaar was not an issue to defend the Freedom in France, today a duty of memory is required.

This year, even a single bus card (Navigo Card) requires a picture without Dastaar, Sikh turban. It is a humiliation every time we have to present a card to present our self. You can be French, British, Indian, to get a Navigo Card you will have to produce a picture without Dastaar on the desk! Passport, ID card, European License Card, Health Card, Student Card, Public Transport Card, Student Card, Sikhs are forbidden to wear their Dastaar.

We urge the Panth to take up these issues with the French official, especially during the visit of French President in India from 9th to 12th March 2018.

Safeguarding the Sikh Identity is a duty for each of us.

Contact information :

R.G. SINGH
Président
Conseil Représentatif des Sikhs de France
direction@sikhsdefrance.fr
(33) 6 50 45 11 07


For further information on this story contact: media@sikhpa.com

top-secret

Sikhs await tribunal decision on secret massacre files

An information tribunal on whether the British government must release files to the National Archives relating to official British advice for a military operation against Sikhs in 1984 will conclude tomorrow (Thursday 8th March).

A decision based on the tribunals findings will be announced later this year, with no date yet set for it.

In 2014, National Archives files disclosed that the British government gave military advice for the Indian attack on Darbar Sahib (commonly referred to as the Golden Temple) in 1984. This shocking revelation led the then-Prime Minister David Cameron to set up a short inquiry under the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood, which confirmed that Britain did dispatch a Special Air Service officer to India, who provided advice for a military operation against Sikhs.

The Indian Army attacked Darbar Sahib in June 1984 (referred to as Operation Blue Star) on the orders of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There was an indiscriminate, full scale military bombardment of the complex which resulted in thousands of civilian deaths.

However, some files remain undisclosed, despite efforts via the Freedom of Information Act. It is thought that these files contain embarrassing information for the British government that likely link the military advice it gave for such a deadly operation to trade or commercial considerations, including arms sales, with India.

 

‘It is quite unusual that we are not allowed to be part of our own appeal’

 

The current First Tier Tribunal is hearing evidence from Foreign Office officials in secret. Human rights law firm KRW Law are appealing for the release of the information on behalf of Phil Miller, an investigative journalist who initially discovered the provision of military advice. A spokesman for KRW Law said that ‘it is quite unusual that we are not allowed to be part of our own appeal’. 

The current Conservative government has been averse to the release any files, not least because it relates to a time when its party was in office. Post-Brexit there will also be a wariness to maintain warm relations with India in the run up to a potential trade deal between the countries. Miller is sceptical of this, remarking: ‘Disclosing documents from three decades ago will not harm diplomatic relations’. The 2017 Labour Party manifesto said that the party ‘remains committed to an independent inquiry into Britain’s military role in the 1984 raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar.’

Sikh Relief response to accusations in Outlook India

An article published by Outlook India on February 1st used an unverified source to suggest Sikh ethos humanitarian aid group Sikh Relief’s SOPW project (Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare) ‘is ­indirect support for terror’.

Here we share a summary of a response from Sikh Relief in regards to this most heinous and self-admittedly unsubstantiated allegation that would not be allowed to run in nations such as the United Kingdom where Sikh Relief was founded. India unfortunately does not seem to have measures to ensure media reports must be based on fact, and not unfounded accusations. We share this now as we will no longer wait for Outlook India to do the decent thing and allow a right of reply to members of the Sikh community who are labelled with inflammatory tags to tarnish Sikh activism which highlights issues of human rights breaches by the Indian state.

See more on the work of Sikh Relief here. For further comment, please get in touch via Media@SikhPA.com.


 

Sikh Relief have rebutted what they call ‘defamatory and libelous assertions’ made against them by Ushinor Majumdar in an article published in Outlook India magazine on 1st February 2018. The full response can be found below this summary.

Sikh Relief point out that they are a UK registered charity that engages in nothing other than humanitarian work in a transparent and open fashion rebutting several specific allegations made in Majumdar’s original article.

The article quotes an unnamed ‘intelligence agent’, which we as the Sikh Press Association feel is a highly dubious source. Surely, if Majumdar was actually speaking to an officer with verified information, they would have no issue with giving their name to give the quotes state accreditation. However, anti-Sikh articles stemming from Indian media usually gloss over the fact their sources/information are legally unsubstantiated (a recent example being the so-called confessions of Scotsman Jagtar Singh Johal in India being called ‘inadmissible in court’). Sikh PA have also found that rarely (in fact never) do Indian media speak to any Sikh activist organisations to seek their side of the story before running anti-Sikh articles. This is why the article in question did not include anything to highlight the fact the Sikh Relief SOPW project runs freely in India.

The source in the article states that Sikh Relief support for the families of those arrested in Punjab constitutes ‘indirect support for terror.’ In response, Sikh Relief quote the Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment and asking why an entire family should suffer due to the actions of an individual who ‘has been accused of a crime against a widely recognised corrupt state?’.

The charity highlights the case of its chairman, Balbir Singh Bains who was arrested and tortured in India in a false case that was described by the judge as a ‘balloon of falsehoods’ and led to his acquittal.

The article goes on to claim Sikh Relief’s SOPW project is the subject of a probe by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). Sikh Relief clear this issue by stating the ‘lengthy investigation’ by the NIA ‘has brought absolutely nothing of note whatsoever’. It is noteworthy regarding this point that the NIA recently tried to transfer Jagtar Singh Johal out of Punjab despite having no legal basis to do so, leading to the NIA admitting in court that its application was extra-judicial.

Sikh Relief further remark that of the over 200 ex-convicts who Sikh Relief have helped, not one has ‘reoffended or joined any kind of militant organisation’ since their release.

Sikh Relief summarized their position with the SOPW project by stating: ‘We will help anyone who approaches the charity with humanitarian aid, be it legal assistance, or medical or educational. This is not illegal and we offer this service with pride.’

The rebuttal stresses that Sikh Relief has applied for accreditation as a registered charity to the authorities and ends by stating, ‘we have invited various government departments to engage with us. Change must come, either from the ground up or with the assistance of those in charge. But to wage war on your own populace and defame those who attempt to heal the wounds is simply not an option.’


 

Rebuttal of defamatory and libellous assertions made against Sikh Relief

Although articles defamatory of the Sikh community authored by Indian journalists is nothing new and sadly will continue, we are particularly dismayed by the inclusion of Sikh Relief in this latest article.

The assertions made are a crude attempt to lump all Sikh organisations in one basket and create a narrative of a radical and extremist global Sikh gathering which is a threat to the existence of the Union States of India.

Sikh Relief is a UK registered charity and is engaged in nothing other than humanitarian work. To allege or accuse Sikh Relief of any other purpose is false, defamatory and outrageous. This article should have ended with a footnote informing readers that it had not approached Sikh Relief Chairman Balbir Singh Bains.

In light of that, we now invite the author to approach Mr Bains and engage him in dialogue and Sikh Relief welcomes an article written after an honest attempt to garner the full facts and information regarding our work and projects.

Facts like the arrest, severe torture and implication in a totally false case of Balbir Singh Bains in 1999, the Indian police accused him of being a terrorist in possession of RDX explosive. Yet the judge presiding over the case and hearing the evidence for himself, Special Judge, M.L. Sahni said of the police fairy-tale in his final judgement:

“A balloon of falsehoods…the prosecution story stands falsified…It is well said that a lie does not have legs to stand on…Accordingly, I acquit the accused of the charges framed against him.” 

It was even more shocking when shortly afterwards, an internal investigation conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (I.B) proved that the RDX explosives allegedly ‘found’ on Balbir Singh’s person were, in fact, from an operation unit of the police. It’s in these circumstances that Sikh Relief has today accomplished what it has.

 

The rebuttal:

 

  1. “….supporting the families of those arrested in Punjab for terror activities—covering their education needs, livelihood and legal costs. “This is ­indirect support for terror. We have had some bank accounts seized and the NIA has filed an FIR against the Sikh Organisation for Prisoner’s Welfare (SOPW),” says the officer.”       

For this article to make such an absurd claim whilst quoting an anonymous ‘intelligence agent’ is simply outrageous.

There is no better response to this totalitarian thought than international human rights laws, accepted and agreed conventions. “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collectivepenalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” This is the wording of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment. So how has an intelligence officer decided that meeting the humanitarian needs of the families of prisoners of conscience constitutes “…indirect support for terror.” Should the families of under trials and convicts be ostracised by society? Should they dwindle and eek out their existence in poverty and be denied an education for their children? Should they be denied the charitable medical assistance offered to millions across the poverty stricken land of economic power that is called India simply because a member of their family has been accused of a crime against a widely recognised corrupt state?
We think not and as such will continue to work within the law and our humanitarian beliefs to help any unfortunate family who has become the focus of a vindictive state of mind, where the family is considered as guilty as any one of its members.

 

  1. “The taint hardly touches all Sikh support organisations: some are purely humanitarian, andplay straight.”    

This singular sentence is worthy of contempt and nothing more. No attempt has been made by the author to explore the work done by Sikh Relief in Nepal following the earthquake in 2015, in Kashmir after the floods the year after, our support of schools, our environment projects or our self sufficiency projects like the Learn to Earn centres that teach skill to the most poor people and gifts the tools of the learned trade to each student upon graduation. This is the Kirat Kamai project and is run as a direct result of the teachings of Sahib Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, the founder of the Sikh faith.

 

  1. “The UK-based Sikh Relief, for instance, runs a programme called the SOPW, which is currently under an NIA probe. Parminder Singh Amloh, who runs SOPW’s Punjab wing, has been summoned thrice to the NIA HQ in Delhi. A former stuntman, he was arrested in 2008 under the Arms Act for carrying bullets meant for Gurmeet Ram Rahim—he spent four years in jail.”

 

While it is true that our SOPW project has been the subject of an NIA probe, the lengthy investigation of our activities, projects and financial management has brought absolutely nothing of note whatsoever and only serves to highlight the very totalitarian mindset that we are attempting to shelter innocent families from. This article has unwittingly exposed the collective punishment of those families is being extended to those who attempt to support them. The article is itself a vehicle of such an oppression and only part of an all encompassing system of malignment and misinformation designed to slander and criminalise those the state wishes to silence. To mention Bhai Amloh’s time in custody whilst declining to mention the reality of Sikh Relief having helped over 200 Sikh prisoners to not only leave prison, but to rehabilitate and integrate them back into civil society as self employed examples of what a genuine justice system should produce when functioning properly. This article has engaged in a crude attempt to tarnish the name and work of Sikh Relief by implying and insinuating that the SOPW project is ran by a criminal without mentioning the fact that of the 200 plus ex convicts who Sikh Relief have helped have not reoffended or joined any kind of militant organisation since release.

 

  1. “Including Jaggi? “We help those who approach us and verify who really needs help,” says Parminder. “The NIA is yet to close the FIR. It should go and talk to Bains in the UK to clear things up.”

 

Up to this point the author has failed to articulate who or what Sikh Relief has been supporting, so desperately mentions the Scottish national Jagtar Singh Jaggi as a potential recipient of our support. Bhai Amloh’s answer is sufficiently clear, we will help anyone who approaches the charity with humanitarian aid, be it legal assistance, or medical or educational. This is not illegal and we offer this service with pride. The NIA has not closed it’s investigation and has not approached Bhai Balbir Singh Bains either, this vacuum allows shoddy journalism and conjecture to roam free in an environment awash with institutional corruption and political violence. Who does such an environment benefit? Certainly not those who are in the service of humanity.

 

  1. “At the bare minimum, SOPW Punjab is caught in a regulatory tangle. “We applied for registration and were told categorically there were ‘instructions from upstairs’ that it would not be ­permitted. There’s no option but to approach the High Court,”

 

This maybe the only accurate element to Sikh Relief in the lengthy article. Sikh Relief has not only applied for accreditation as a registered charity to the authorities, but we have invited various governmental departments to engage with us and work together to eradicate the environment the country finds itself in. Change must come, either from the ground up or with the assistance of those in charge. But to wage war on your own populace and defame those who attempt to heal the wounds is simply not an option.

 

PIC BY MICHAEL SCOTT/CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Armed police on scene at the Gurdwara Sahib Temple in Leamington, Warwickshire after 20-30 men armed with blades stormed the Sikh Temple shortly before 7am.) - A group of between 20  30 men, armed with blades, have stormed a Sikh temple in Leamington, Warwickshire. According to police the men entered the Gurdwara Sahib in Tachbrook Park Drive shortly before 7am. Armed police have surrounded the temple and police negotiators and local religious leaders are inside the building, attempting to resolve the situation. It is believed the dispute is over a mixed-marriage. - SEE CATERS COPY

Calls for Leamington Gurdwara committee to resign following protester acquittal

The National Sikh Youth Federation (NSYF) have called for the managing committee of Gurdwara Sahib Leamington and Warwick ‘to issue an apology and resign’ following the acquittal of two protesters they alleged had broken the law during a demonstration at the gurdwara.

Kulvinder Bir Singh and Gursharan Singh were on trial at Birmingham Crown Court for charges made against them during a peaceful protest against Leamington Gurdwara for breaking religious rules set by the Akal Takht, the highest seat of authority of the Sikh faith. This week both were acquitted.

Following the acquittal, leading Sikh organisations including the Sikh Federation UK and Sikh Council UK led the call for an inquest into how Warwickshire police allowed the incident to escalate to a crown court trial, based only on claims from members and associate of the committee. See more info on their statements here.

NSYF further expressed Sikh community sentiment by suggesting the committee need to ‘stand down, issuing an apology to the Sikh activists, and most importantly to the Sangat (Sikh congregation) for bringing a Sikh institution into disrepute.’

The press release, available to view in full here, also condemned the ‘heavy-handed response by Warwickshire police’, as well as the ‘sensationalist reporting’ which followed.

NSYF called for Sikh Council UK to ‘put into place measures to ensure that the British police have a point of contact outside the of Gurdwara committees’ to avoid such issues in the future. Following an incident earlier this year when Coventry Telegraph published a story claiming Sikh militants were handing out Islamic fundamentalist group ISIS propaganda, based on a now debunked statement from a committee member of Guru Nanak Gurdwara of Coventry aiming to criminalise local Sikhs who opposed their management, the Sikh Press Association openly support this suggestion, as it was an exaggerated police report which led to headlines claiming ‘sword-wielding’ Sikhs ‘storm’ a temple at the Leamington protest on September 11 2016.

The response of many of the UK’s leading Sikh organisations in reaction to the acquittal of the two protesters amply demonstrates community sentiment in regards to the incident, which is one example of ongoing issues between Gurdwara management committees and the Sikh community.

For more information on such issues, email Media@SikhPA.com.

leamington protesters

Sikh orgs push for inquests into police conduct following acquittal of Leamington protesters

Following the acquittal of two Sikh protesters by a Birmingham Crown Court jury, leading Sikh organisations are calling for an inquiry into how the arrests led to a trial.

The case was stated by lawyer, Talbir Singh as being “the largest hammer you will ever see to crack the smallest nut”, leading to the Sikh Council UK calling for a meeting with Warwickshire police, whilst the Sikh Federation UK called for an investigation into the “massive over-reaction”.

The trial came after 55 protesters were detained by armed police at Gurdwara Sahib Leamington Spa on September 11 2016. Two of those protesters, Kulvinder Bir Singh and Gursharan Singh, were accused of pulling an official’s tie and taking down laminated signs inside the gurdwara. Both were acquitted yesterday afternoon.

Sikh Youth UK, a community group largely most associated with the protest having been first to share news of it said in a statement on Facebook, “It is clear to see a situation where the management committee of the Gurdwara Sahib have used their personal links with the Police and politicians to serve their joint objectives. This was demonstrated numerous times including the interview of Superintendent David Gardner of Warwickshire Police who discussed the case on television prior to a full investigation, charges or proceedings.

“In addition to the massive costs for the unwarranted and unnecessarily exaggerated response by Warwickshire Police, the additional costs of malicious allegations and Court proceedings are a cost which will be borne unfairly by the taxpayer.

“Reacting to the Court outcome, calls are being made from the Sikh community across the UK for the management committee of Gurdwara Sahib Leamington & Warwick to stand down. Furthermore an independent investigation into the actions of Warwickshire Police in relation to the whole affair is being demanded.”

Sikh Council UK Head of Policy, Strategy and Legal Affairs Gurmel Singh Kandola said “We have a number of ongoing concerns, including the nature of briefings and meetings prior to the incident between police and Gurdwara representatives, the disproportionate policing operation on the day in question with the use of armed officers, the subsequent legal processes and charges pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service, the media appearances undertaken by police officers during the course of the matter and the inconsistencies with which counter-complaints were handled”.

He added “We are seeking meetings to discuss our concerns and the way forward so Warwickshire Police and other police forces do not make the same mistakes again. The sensational reporting of the matter following the events of the day has caused significant reputational damage to the community and we wish to ensure lessons are learnt going forward.”

Commenting on the case, Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the UK’s Sikh Federation, said: ‘We welcome the unanimous decision of jurors to acquit the two brothers and feel vindicated as we have said all along these prosecutions were totally unnecessary.

‘This was a lawful, peaceful protest where Warwickshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service appear to have been given incorrect and false information by members of the Leamington Gurdwara management committee.

‘There should be an independent investigation as this incident at that time brought the law-abiding Sikh community into serious disrepute with a massive over-reaction with armed police being deployed on the anniversary of 9/11.’

Jasveer Singh of the Sikh Press Association also stated that media coverage of the issue only helped to fuel the unnecessary push for prosecution. “When the news of the protest came out, news outlets like the Daily Mirror and Sky News reported claimed protesters were ‘sword-wielding’ and had ‘stormed’ the Gurdwara, painting a completely enflamed image of what had actually happened. The quotes were not even attributed to anyone.

“It is hard for us to believe that both police and media did not know that initiated Sikhs will always carry a small sword, and do so every single day in schools, in parliament and in hospitals. What we do recognise though is that both the media and government authorities are unaware of the fractious relationship some Sikh communities can have with Gurdwara committees that flout Sikh protocol.

“Last year Coventry Telegraph published a news article claiming Sikhs were promoting ISIS propaganda in a Gurdwara, based on a claim by one single committee member of Guru Nanak Parkash Gurdwara. This heinous accusation was quickly removed from the story once members of the local community came forward to speak against the ridiculous accusation.

“This is yet again clear evidence that the media and government authorities – whether it be the police or charities commission – need to do more to speak to connect with the Sikh community, to avoid those with their own agenda leading them down a costly path.”

tytler

Indian politician caught on camera admitting to role in Sikh genocide

Indian National Congress politician Jagdish Tytler has confessed to playing a key role in the 1984 Sikh genocide, in a newly-released video, which can be seen below.

The footage shows Tytler confessing to murder, The former Indian member of Parliament bragged about “killing” 100 Sikhs, when being secretly filmed in 2011. The video was released this week by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) who claimed to have received the videos from an ‘unidentified youth’.
Tytler has long been accused of instigating the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was killed by her own Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for the Indian government’s attack on holy Sikh site Harmandir Sahib (often referred to as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab.
At the time, Tytler was minister of state for overseas Indian affairs, a position he resigned from after he was accused of inciting and leading murderous mobs against the Sikh community in Delhi.
BJP national secretary and Delhi president of Shiromani Akali Dal R.P. Singh has now lodged a First Information Report (FIR) at Parliament Street police station against Tytler.  He demanded immediate arrest of Tytler, and warned that the DSGMC would launch protests otherwise. He added that he would hand over the clippings to CBI and demand action from prime minister Narendra Modi.
According to state media, Tytler has denied the confession, claiming that it was not him in the video and that his voice had been distorted.

He has so far escaped any punishment for his role in the genocide, even though witnesses reported seeing him lead rampaging mobs towards the homes of Sikhs and an official government inquiry even claimed he ‘probably’ had a role in organising attacks.
Modi-Not-Welome-Parliament

UK Sikhs gearing up for anti-Modi protests

Preparations underway to continue #ModiNotWelcome campaign of his previous UK visit


Members of the UK Sikh community will protest Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London from 16th – 20th April 2018.

Preparations, being led by Sikh activist organisation Dal Khalsa UK, are already underway in the British Sikh community to ensure that Mr Modi’s visit does not go without an examination of his affiliation with violent Hindu nationalism.

In accordance with the Sikh principle of Sarbat Da Bhalla (the welfare of all), Sikh organisations such as Dal Khalsa and Sikhs for Justice will work with groups from other minorities in India including Kashmiris, Muslims, Christians and Dalits, all of whom have suffered persecution from fanatic Hindutva groups aligned to Modi’s ruling BJP party.

One organisation, Sikhs for Justice, has vowed to protest the visit. Paramjit Singh Pamma of Sikhs for Justice said, ‘We will confront the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, over the atrocities committed by the Indian state, including the killings of Sikhs in India.’ 

Modi’s last visit to the UK was in November 2015, where he was given an extravagant welcome that included addressing 60,000 people at Wembley Stadium. On that occasion, and at Modi’s visit to 10 Downing Street, Sikhs protested alongside other marginalised Indian groups to send a clear message to the British government that minorities in India feared the consequences of Modi’s Hindu Nationalist government.

Recently on Indian Republic Day (26th January) Sikhs protested outside the Indian High Commission in London alongside groups campaigning for their democratic rights from the Indian state.

For more information on the planned protests please contact either media@sikhpa.com or jasveer@sikhpa.com.

 

 

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Summary of REDRESS Report on #FreeJaggiNow

Jagtar Singh Johal is a British national who has been detained in India since 4th November 2017. He has not been charged, been denied private consular access, and has said that he has been tortured multiple times while in Indian police custody.

REDRESS is an international human rights organisation based in London and The Hague which seeks justice and repatriation for survivors of torture and related international crimes. It has published a report, based on the experience of detained national such as Mrs Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran and Jagtar Singh Johal in India. The report, titled Beyond Discretion: The Protection of British Nationals Abroad from Torture and Ill-Treatment, makes several recommendations to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on how to handle the detention of British nationals abroad.

The report recommends that the right to consular assistance for all British nationals should be enshrined in law. Moreover, it calls on the FCO to publish the entire Internal Guidance Documents for consular officials regarding consular assistance and develop clear criteria for a transparent exercise of consular assistance. The report notes that individual cases have shown how inconsistent the efforts of the British government are to assist and protect British nationals abroad. Overall, rather than regarding the assistance of British nationals as a matter of policy, the report argues that as part of a victim-centred approach, the FCO should create a legal obligation to exercise diplomatic protection where UK nationals have suffered or are at risk of grave human rights violations in detention abroad.

Check out the report in full here.

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Sikh war memorial campaign backed across parliament

15 members of the Sikh community pledge £25,000 each to raise £375,000 towards the memorial at parliament event.


31.01.18

A campaign to create a Sikh World War memorial in a central London location saw cross-party support in parliament yesterday evening.

The campaign, being led by Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first ever turbaned Sikh in European parliamentary history, was launched with the support of various Sikh community groups, along with the likes of Vince Cable (Liberal Democrats leader), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party leader), Sajid Javid (Conservative government Communities Secretary), John Bercow (Speaker of the House of Commons) and many other senior parliamentarians.

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Tanmanjeet Singh said of the launch, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to have hosted a historical gathering of cross party MPs, Lords, the Mayor of London, community representatives and social activists in the Houses of Parliament this evening.’

It is often suggested that the fact 83,000 Sikhs died fighting in the British Armed Forces is little-known amongst the British public, with this being a key thought in the need for a Sikh war memorial, something echoed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who feels the best place for the memorial is in the capital.

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‘What is important is a national memorial to commemorate the contribution made by Sikh soldiers is in our capital city. It is a huge boon for the campaign and we should be very proud we have cross-party support from politicians across the country for this, making the memorial more likely to happen’ said Sadiq Khan.

During the launch Tanmanjeet Singh spoke of the bullying many Sikh children face because of their often distinct appearance in wearing a patka (Sikh head covering) or dastaar (Sikh turban), suggesting a Sikh war monument will help ‘integration’.

‘Hopefully with the announced active support of the Government, the Mayor of London and the local authorities, we will in the very near future have a permanent national monument in a befitting central London location. It would have huge additional benefits for community cohesion and integration within our country.’ 

The launch saw 15 members of the Sikh community pledge £25,000 each to raise £375,000 towards an expected figure of £500,000 needed for the memorial. Funders included Gurmail Singh Malhi, head of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall Gurdwara committee, Indian businessman Rami Ranger, and many others.

For more information on the campaign follow @SikhWarMemorial on Twitter.