NOTE - This is a stock image and not a picture of the actual raids mentioned in the article.

How does the Indian media know who was raided? – UK Sikh home raids story update

An Indian newspaper claims West Midlands Police worked on Indian state direction and gave out confidential information in regards to raids on Sikh activists. Sikh organisations believe information on those targeted was extracted through the torture of Jagtar Singh Johal, the Scottish Sikh detained in India without charge. WMP are yet to address the Indian media accusations or answer questions from the Sikh community on this issue.

Read on for more, including quotes from the National Sikh Youth Federation, Sikh Press Association and MP Preet Kaur.


UPDATE (19.11.18)

Sikh group say ‘WMP spying on us’ for Indian govt to ‘silence the call for an independent homeland’

An article in the Huffington Post UK posted today highlighted thoughts from Sikh orgs on the continued ban on West Midlands police from Gurdwara stages.

Read the article in full here.

 

 


UPDATE (15.11.18)

Summary on UK Parliament mass lobby, including lawyer statement on UK raids

On November 14th dozens of Sikhs from across the UK came together for a mass lobby in regards to several Sikh issues, including the actions of the West Midlands Police and their raids of Sikh activists.

Read our summary via the link below of the main points from this day of lobbying and meeting thereafter, including a statement from Gareth Peirce on a ‘paper trail’ connecting the Indian authorities and the West Midlands Police.

https://www.sikhpa.com/sikh-mass-parliament-lobby-and-meeting-summary/

 


UPDATE (13.11.18)

WMP to be exposed for operation with Indian authorities targeting Sikhs

A confidential West Midlands Police briefing is to be exposed at a meeting in parliament tomorrow. The news (first aired out on 14.11.18 in India, so 13.11.18 in the UK due to the time difference) comes just before the mass lobby in parliament which will press the UK government on concerns about the raids. Read the full story via the Sikh Siyasat link below:

https://sikhsiyasat.net/2018/11/14/british-authorities-to-be-exposed-during-lobby-for-underhand-involvement-of-jagtar-singh-jaggis-torture/

 


UPDATE (08.11.18)

WMP made to leave Gurdwara on recruitment drive

A West Midlands police recruitment drive taking place inside a Gurdwara was politely halted by Sikh activists yesterday evening.

A video circulating on social shows activists asking ‘humbly and politely’ for WMP reps to leave based on the agreed upon ban – decided by a conglomerate of Sikh organisations – on the force due to their involvement with Indian authorities which saw them raid five Sikh activists in September, leading to no arrests and only the confiscation of electrical equipment, much of which is yet to be returned.

Note; this incident has since been covered by national media. Read a report and see a video on this incident here.

 


UPDATE (02.11.18)

Mass lobby announced

 

A mass parliament lobby by Sikhs highlighting five issues including the raids on Sikh activists has been announced for the afternoon of November 14. Read the full story here.

 


UPDATE (27.10.18)

Raids Organisation formed

A new organisation has been formed by members of the Sikh community to highlight the partnership between the UK and India in regards to suppressing Sikh activism. Raids Organisation UK formed to highlight Anglo-Indian collusion against Sikh activism, such as the #FreeJaggiNow campaign and awareness campaigns in regards to the 1984 Sikh Genocide and its precursor Operation Blue Star.

You can follow the group here.

 


UPDATE (22.10.18)

WMP to be asked to explain relationship with Indian authorities

Sikh Federation UK say West Midlands Police ‘could be asked to clarify about sharing of information with foreign intelligence agencies.’

A meeting held by the Sikh Federation UK saw news released that WMP and UK authorities could be asked to explain their relationship with intelligence agencies, after information from the raids on five UK Sikh activists found its way into the hands of Indian media.

The Sikh Press Association hope to be able to share any update from WMP as soon as it comes out. Thus far, WMP have rejected Sikh PA’s calls for a press conference to discuss concerns about the raids before the public.


UPDATE (14.10.18)

Sikh Council UK make public statement on UK raids on homes of Sikh activists

Following a press release on the situation, Gurmel Singh of the Sikh Council UK spoke out publicly in regards to the actions of the UK authorities and the targeted raids on Sikh activists. Watch a video of the speech here.


UPDATE (09.10.18)

Information on raids put out by WMP is ‘contradictory’ claims MP

Britain’s first female MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs has said that there are unanswered questions concerning the raids on the houses of Sikh activists in Britain. Preet Kaur Gill directly addressed the fact that ‘the information being put out in the public domain is quite contradictory’. She referenced the various references in Indian media to the raids and the Sikh activists involved and contrasted them with the lack of information and denials coming from West Midlands Police.

Preet Kaur also articulated the concerns of the British Sikh community that the raids were connected to the lack of progress in Jagtar Singh’s case in Punjab, India. It has been nearly a year since the British citizen was detained by police in the Indian state where he says he was tortured. She said:

‘The fear in the community, when I’ve spoken to many of the organisations, is that because there’s been no charge on Jagtar Singh Johal in India, are these raids to try and build some kind of evidence?’

Preet Kaur is set to raise the issue with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid.


UPDATE (08.10.18)

British Columbia Sikh Gurdwaras Council write to British High Commissioner to Canada regarding #5SinghsUK raids

A representative group of one of the biggest Sikh diaspora communities in the world have spoken out about the UK raids on Sikh activists, speaking on the ‘shock’ of the Canadian Sikh community about the targeted raids. Check out the full statement here.


UPDATE (27.09.18)

WMP banned for Sikh events and establishments

A conglomerate of Sikh organisations (titled below) have come together to enforce a ban on West Midlands police (WMP) from using Sikh establishments or events for official representation.

The organisations are the Sikh Federation UK, the Sikh Network, the National Sikh Youth Federation, Sikh Youth UK, Shiromani Akali Dal UK, Rajoana TV, the Federation of Sikh Organisations and the Free Jaggi Now campaign. This means recruitment drives and talks from staff on official West Midlands police duty are no longer allowed at Gurdwaras or events such as Nagar Kirtans. With a strong Sikh population in the West Midlands, the presence of WMP on recruitment drives or using Sikh platforms to reach out to the community has been a familiar sight. This will no longer be the case for the foreseeable future, until the issue of WMP colluding with Indian authorities to raid the homes of Sikh activists has been addressed. Thus far, WMP have failed to address the claims made in Indian media that they were acting upon direction from Indian authorities.

Following the raids, although countless property has been seized by the police, no arrests were made and no explanation about the actual basis of the raids has been given.

 


UPDATE (26.09.18)

Indian media releases names of Sikh activists raided, pointing towards WMP leak

The outrage about an obvious link between Indian intelligence and the actions of British police forces grew after Indian media released all five names of the Sikhs targeted in raids.

For both legal and ethical reasons, the Sikh Press Association will not repeat the identity of the individuals nor the publications which divulged their name.

The Sikh Press Association again contacted West Midlands Police about this, as they are the only organisation specifically named as working on behalf of the Indian state, who again simply stated no information on the raids has been given out.

The situation leads to only two possible possibilities; 1) WMP and other British authorities conducted the raids based upon direction from the Indian state, or 2) WMP have a leak that is providing confidential information to Indian sources, leading to Indian authorities taking credit for perceived moves against anti-Indian ‘extremism’.

The Sikh Press Association has directly requested an opportunity for the Sikh community to sit with and question WMP and all police forces involved.

 


UPDATE (25.09.18)

The Hindustan Times have reported (23.09.18) an NIA (National Investigation Agency) official claiming “The raids were the result of diplomatic pressure created by India on the UK.”

Sikh PA senior press officer said of this latest statement, “It is incredibly bold of Indian state reps and Indian media to continue to openly tout their influence on UK police forces. Meanwhile, we are still seeing UK establishments blindly ignore this, whilst also avoiding questions and requests for clarification on the situation.”

 


UPDATE (23.09.18)

Sikh activist raided speaks out

National Sikh Youth Federation spokesperson Shamsher Singh, one of those who was raided, explains his thoughts on why Sikhs were targeted and how this is reflective of Sikh history. Watch here.

The raids have now been linked with the current situation of Jagtar Singh Johal, the Scottish Sikh that has been detained by Indian authorities for just under a year, without any evidence or even witnesses presented against him. Read Sikh Siyasat’s report on this here.

 


Original article from 21.09.18

Members of the Sikh community are questioning how Indian media have gotten hold of details about police raids on UK Sikh homes earlier this week, after outlets named two individuals allegedly impacted.

Concerns have arisen about how the outlets may have gotten hold of such sensitive information after West Midlands Police were said to have been the source of the information, something which they have denied to the Sikh Press Association.

 

For both legal and ethical reasons, the Sikh Press Association will not repeat the identity of the individuals nor the publications which divulged their name.

 

Somebody described as ‘a top Punjab police officer’ has been quoted by an Indian media outlet as saying: ‘We have received confirmation from WMCTU [West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit] that the residences of both […] and […] were searched. There was, however, no confirmation on any arrests yet.’

However, on Friday afternoon West Midlands Police confirmed to the Sikh Press Association its policy of only naming individuals once they have been charged. According to Sikh PA sources, it is against British police protocol to name anyone involved in a case unless they have at least been arrested and it is of public interest.

During one of the raids, which occurred across the Midlands and in London, property of a National Sikh Youth Federation activist was confiscated. Electronic items such as laptops and hard-drives were seized by officers. The group has warned that ‘sharing NSYF information with Indian security forces investigating “extremist activity in India” places the lives of associates and their family members in direct danger of further harassment, torture, and extrajudicial murder’, based on the long history and current actions of Punjab police and Indian authorities which involves torture and fake encounters murders.

 

A further statement from the National Sikh Youth Federation addressed the issue of the leaked name:

‘This information makes it abundantly clear that Indian state security forces have not only instigated UK police actions, but are also abusing international legal mechanisms by circumventing the procedures of the UK police and their own integrity to vindictively target Sikh activists by leaking information to the Indian media.

‘The National Sikh Youth Federation is deeply concerned that the personal data and legally privileged information of Sikh activists will be shared with Indian security forces placing the lives of Sikhs in Indian-Occupied East Punjab in extreme danger.

‘If it wasn’t clear before it should be absolutely clear now that the primary motivation of the Indian state is to silence Sikh dissent by presenting long standing Sikh political grievances with the Indian regime and support for Khalistan as extremism and terrorism.’

 

The reaction of Indian media towards the raids has prompted criticism from the Sikh Press Association, for both a lack of evidence and non-use of important facts in regards to allegations of ‘Sikh extremism’ in the UK.

Sikh Press Association senior press officer Jasveer Singh said, ‘It is incredibly worrying to learn that Indian media outlets are citing British police forces as a source of information that should not be available to them. Are these Indian outlets just speculating and using West Midlands Police as their cover? If so, West Midlands police must publicly condemn them, and should do so with full support of the UK government.

‘On the Indian media’s side, we should not expect much. There is a proven history of anti-Sikh propaganda that is spewed out from various outlets, all of which lack evidence, context, and are usually clearly biased against Sikh activism. The best example of this is the 2015/16 Sikh extremism fake dossier scandal, the outcome of which no Indian outlets – bar Sikh Siyasat – covered. In regards to the raids, whilst Indian media accuse the UK of harbouring Khalistani extremists, a peer reviewed CREST approved report which clears suggestions of this nature goes unmentioned by them. Even when reaching out to our Indian media contacts, we get messages back (see image below) which say journalists there are under government pressure not to cover stories which may expose their wrongdoings. The only thing we can do is ask UK media not to follow suit and republish their hyperbolic content.’

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-21 at 2.00.47 PM

Widespread scepticism regarding the raids in the Sikh community led Britain’s first female Sikh MP and Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs Preet Kaur Gill to say on Thursday: ‘There is speculation that the police raids have political motives and targeting those activists who are outspoken on the 1984 Sikh Genocide issue. If this is the case it is totally unacceptable.’ She added that she would be raising this matter with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and in a meeting with the Chief Superintendent of West Midlands Police.

The belief that the Indian state may be behind the raids has been echoed by many, including journalists, respected humanitarians and activists across the world.

Sikh PA will continue to provide updates to this story as more information comes out.

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