The News – Report says UK spy chiefs don’t trust Home Secretary Priti Patel

Murtaza Ali Shah

London – UK, 24 February 2020. British intelligence chiefs are sharing less information with Home Secretary Priti Patel because they do not trust her or like her needless intervention in their work, a news report has suggested.

Top officials within the intelligence services, Cabinet Office and Home Office have shared that intelligence chiefs are reportedly sharing less information with Patel than they did with her predecessors because they do not “have confidence in her abilities”.

A report in The Sunday Times claimed that the MI5 finds the Home Secretary “extremely difficult to deal with” because she does not “grasp the subtleties of intelligence”.

The report added that security service personnel apparently regularly “roll their eyes” following interventions made by Patel during high-level meetings. The Sunday Times reported that intelligence bosses have reduced the amount of information they share with Patel.

An official told the newspaper: “The spooks find her extremely difficult to deal with. She doesn’t grasp the subtleties of intelligence. It’s not black and white. They don’t have confidence in her abilities.” Another source said the security services “have to decide how much to share, and they share less”.

Sources also claimed that Patel is now “informed about things later in the decision-making process”.

Separately, a senior civil servant has quit Patel’s team amid bullying allegations. Mark Thomson, the director-general of UK Visas and Immigration and HM Passport Office, will leave his role. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) member Mick Jones blamed Patel’s approach to immigration policy for Thomson’s departure.

He told the Guardian: “He’s indicated to our reps that it was mainly because they had had major run-ins. It was clear that [Patel] had come in and was trying to do things that they [Home Office officials] just weren’t comfortable with and [Thomson] sort of said “I’m off then”.’

However, late on Sunday, the MI5 rejected claims that its officials are withholding information from Patel because they do not trust her. An informed security source said Patel was getting the same information from the agency as any other home secretary.

The report was published after a series of stories, which have not been fully denied, claiming that Patel has had a series of difficult relationships with officials during her ministerial career and that she is currently trying to oust the permanent secretary at the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam.

Patel’s allies believe that officials are briefing against her because they do not like being challenged.

After allegations were published on Sunday, Patel expressed her concern at “false allegations” saying they were made about her amid claims of bullying and distrust from intelligence chiefs. An ally said she was “absolutely livid” about the recent slew of allegations and insisted she was demanding a leak inquiry to be carried out by the Cabinet Office.

However, Cabinet Office sources were adamant that a request had not been received either formally or informally, exposing an apparent escalation of the row. The latest allegation came after she was accused of bullying officials and creating an “atmosphere of fear” at the department, which allies denied.

On Sunday, a Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary and permanent secretary are deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media.

“They are focused on delivering on the Home Office’s hugely important agenda, which includes creating an immigration system that works for the UK, putting more police on the streets and keeping the public safe from terrorism.”

A government spokesman responded, “The Home Secretary and MI5 have a strong and close working relationship, and baseless claims to the contrary are both wrong and against the public interest.”

Patel was first appointed to the cabinet in 2016 as international development secretary when Theresa May was prime minister. She was forced to resign the following year after it emerged that she had failed to tell No 10 about a series of meetings she had had with Israeli ministers while she was visiting the country for what was supposed to be a holiday.

There are very good reasons not to trust Ms Patel and some of her South Asian colleagues: They are supporters of Hindutva and the values of Hindutva are not the values of the UK as I know them !

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/618567-report-says-uk-spy-chiefs-dont-trust-home-secretary-priti-patel

Evening Express – Taking steps towards city’s new Sikh temple [Gurdwara]

Emma Morrice

Aberdeen – Scotland – UK, 08 February 2020. Plans to refurbish a former nursery into a Sikh temple [Gurdwara] have taken a step forward.

Aberdeen Sikh Sangat said that it hoped to open its new temple [Gurdwara] in the former Timber Kinder Garden nursery on St Ninians Place in Seaton this summer.

Now the building warrant to begin the £50,000 renovation for the gurdwara, has been submitted to Aberdeen City Council, which will allow the group to start refurbishing the site.

Under the proposals, the current building will be altered to allow it to be used as a Sikh Gurdwara.

Plans to refurbish a former nursery into a Gurdwara have taken a step forward.

Aberdeen Sikh Sangat said that it hoped to open its new Gurdwara in the former Timber Kinder Garden nursery on St Ninians Place in Seaton this summer.

Now the building warrant to begin the £50,000 renovation for the temple, or gurdwara, has been submitted to Aberdeen City Council, which will allow the group to start refurbishing the site.

Under the proposals, the current building will be altered to allow it to be used as a Sikh temple [Gurdwara], with a section of the building also planned to be converted to allow for accommodation for a live-in priest [granthi – not priest] to be included.

With the community originally beginning by getting together for prayers and kirtan (hymn singing) in homes, the charity was set up in 2012 with the view to moving into a dedicated location.

As well as providing a gurdwara for the 30 to 40 families that make up Aberdeen’s Sikh community, it would also be available for use for the wider public.

The congregation has already begun meeting in the building, with everyone welcome to come along.

Charity trustee Suki Pooni said the community was also getting involved in the renovation works. He added: “We’re trying to get people involved and engaged, they’re spending their weekends helping.

“For the project we’ll be doing a mix between contractors and doing what we can. “We really want to engage with the community and help out people in the Seaton area.” The group has also launched a fundraising page this week to raise money towards the refurbishment costs.

So far, more than £ 150 has been raised in the past few days.
Anyone interested in supporting the project costs can donate online at
bit.ly/31Acfsy

Taking steps towards city’s new Sikh temple

Sikh24.com – Op/Ed – A Sikh perspective: The UK’s divorce with the European Union

A Sikh perspective against Brexit

Bhai Manvir Singh

London – UK, 03 February 2020. With Brexit, it’s going to be more difficult for our Sikh brothers and sisters living in continental Europe to fight for their rights and liberties. Sikhs in mainland Europe are less established in the communities and political systems of their respective countries in comparison to Sikhs in the UK.

For this reason, Sikhs in mainland Europe had traditionally relied on the support of UK Sikhs to represent them via British politicians in the European Parliament. With the United Kingdom’s divorce with the European Union, Sikhs in Europe have lost a significant amount of political influence in European politics which governs them.

Many Sikhs from mainland Europe, in particular Italy, had taken advantage of the UK’s membership in the European Union and migrated to the UK. I feel that the UK offers the most religious freedom for Sikhs out of all the European countries. In the UK we don’t need to worry about wearing the Kirpan or the Dastaar.

It would be unbelievable to think that a child in the UK would be barred from a school or university for wearing a Dastaar or not be allowed to have a front-line job like working in a bank, school, civil service etc because of their visible Sikh identity. The reason for this is that Sikhs in the UK have already faced their challenges to safeguard their rights in the 1970s and 80s.

However, countries like France currently have outright bans on wearing any religious headgear in any government school or public service job. Countries like Denmark do not allow Sikhs to wear the Kirpan (wearing it underneath your clothes is even illegal!).

Countries like Belgium and Germany have certain schools which don’t allow children to wear a Dastaar or even keep their heads covered. Most mainland European countries would not allow Sikhs to wear a Dastaar openly or visibly in government jobs.

In short, intolerance towards religion in the name of secularism is increasing in mainland Europe. Some may say this is influenced by the growth in Islamic extremism. However, whatever the causes are, it effects Sikhs living in Europe. Therefore, after attaining citizenship, many European Sikhs have moved to the UK.

With this divorce, the chance for Sikhs to move to the UK from mainland Europe decrease. For Sikhs in mainland Europe who don’t want to migrate, there will be more inconvenience for those wishing to visit the UK to meet their relatives or attend Samaagams (religious events).

For Sikhs living in the UK, Brexit has been reported as being a factor for the increase of hate crimes against minorities and the growing voice of white nationalism and intolerance towards those perceived to be a threat to “british-ness”.

This has led to a hateful rhetoric towards immigrants and immigration in the UK. As a visibly identifiable minority community in the UK, Sikhs often suffer the brunt of racism and racist attacks.

A Sikh perspective for Brexit

European Sikhs are facing the brunt of a growing trend of intolerance towards religion in mainland Europe, from education to work. There is also a growing resistance against looking different in public life. Countries like France don’t accept any ID photo with someone wearing a Dastaar. Also children have been told to remove their Dastaar if they wish to continue studying in school.

Sikh legal experts have taken this case to the United Nations. Despite the United Nations direction to France for the right of Sikhs to wear the Dastaar to be safeguarded, the ruling has been ignored by the French government.

The European Parliament is made up of European politicians. Even though the UK was part of the European Parliament, they do not form a majority. Most mainland European countries having little historic ties with Punjab or Sikhs, and having no need for Sikh votes (as Sikhs are a small minority in all European countries and in a lot of places don’t have the right to vote as they have not gained citizenship).

Keeping this in mind, there is little or no hope for Sikh interests to be defended by European politicians in the midst of a growing trend against religion being seen in public life. If the UK remained in the European Union, there would have been a danger that the freedoms that UK Sikhs have achieved in this country would come under threat from intolerant European politicians. A growing threat of radical Islam to Europe has negatively impacted on Sikhs and law-abiding Muslims.

By getting out of the European Union, the UK Sikh voice is likely to become stronger and the UK’s good-will towards Sikhs and religion in general will likely to either increase without European constraints or at least be safeguarded as it is now.

Conclusion

A large proportion of the UK’s public have lost faith in the integrity of politicians and the political system. People have began questioning the validity and truthfulness of claims made by politicians of both sides of the political argument.

Discontent with politicians involved in expense scandals, growing fears of government cuts to essential services, and a desire for making society better than it is, led many to vote Brexit. However, the reality of situation will unfold only with time.

Gurbani teaches us to prepared for the future and have far-sightedness: “…ਦੇ ਲੰਮੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲੀਐ ॥” (“…look ahead to the future with foresight.”). According to Gurbani, far-sightedness comes from spirituality and our connection with the Divine. Gurbani says, “ਸੋ ਪੜਿਆ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬੀਨਾ ਜਿਨੑੀ ਕਮਾਣਾ ਨਾਉ ॥” (“They alone are learned, wise, and scholars, who accumulate the spiritual-wealth through connecting with the Divine.”).

There is no greater preparation for the future than grounding ourselves with the spirituality laid in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and remaining ready for the unknown through allowing the Guru’s virtues and glory to shine through our thoughts and actions.

The way forward for European Sikhs is instill Gurmat values and thinking in their children as well as focus on getting their children educated. When young spiritually-strong and educated Gursikhs in different European countries become lawyers, doctors, writers, and journalists, they will be able to express their own narrative to the wider society and respective government.

Building links with local communities and host community politicians will create stronger ties. A simple thing like regularly inviting politicians, teachers and police to the Gurdwara, explaining Sikhi to them, sharing Langar with them and having friendly dialogue will build bridges with decision-makers, who then become mindful and respectful of Sikhs.

Hopefully, one day, the young talented Gursikhs of European countries can reach influential positions where they can influence law-makers to safeguard Sikh rights like the pioneering Sikhs did in UK. There are already some young Gursikhs who are active in Europe and made a positive contribution for Sikhs living in their country.

Early pioneers for Sikh rights faced many challenges and had to engage in peaceful protests to gain the right to wear the Dastaar on the buses or the right not to wear the helmet. Sikhs got into politics at first as local councillors and then eventually we got to a point where we have a Sikh proudly wearing a Dastaar in parliament.

If Europe has young Gursikhs who are strong in their Sikhi, attached to Gurbani and dedicated to Simran, then their presence and aura will leave a positive effect on those they speak to. It is now time for the European Sikhs to venture out of their communities and engage in the wider community.

Similarly, Sikhs in the UK can continue to help European Sikhs by keeping ties with the embassies of different European countries and continue to provide support to communities in Europe who are struggling with issues.

With UK Sikhs history of fighting against racism, equal opportunities and safeguarding of religious articles of faith, we have a wealth of experience and expertise to guide our European brothers and sisters in helping to build a fairer and respectful society for all.

Op/Ed – A Sikh perspective: The UK’s divorce with the European Union

The Mail on Line – Man, 29, is charged with GBH after three Sikh men were stabbed to death in the street in Ilford bloodbath

  • Narinder Singh Lubhaya, Harinder Kumar, and Malkit Singh Dhillon were stabbed
  • They were pronounced dead at the scene in Seven Kings on January 19
  • Sandeep Singh has been charged with conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm

Terri-Ann Williams

London – UK, 28 January 2020. A 29-year-old man has been charged with grievous bodily harm after three Sikh men were stabbed to death in the street in east London, Ilford. Sandeep Singh from nearby Romford has been charged by detectives investigating the trio’s deaths with conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Narinder Singh Lubhaya, 29, Harinder Kumar, 30 and Malkit Singh Dhillon, 37, were found with stab injuries on January 19 on Salisbury Road in Seven Kings and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Metropolitan Police has said they believe five men were involved in another altercation the previous evening at the nearby Krystel Banqueting venue, with the clash spilling out on to the High Road.

It is thought those involved were known to each other and were from the Sikh and Hindu communities.

Gurjeet Singh, 29, from Ilford, was charged on January 21 with possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

He appeared at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court the next day, was remanded to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 19 and remains under investigation in connection with the murders.

A second man arrested over the murders has since been eliminated from the investigation.

Scotland Yard said in its statement that Sandeep Singh, also 29, will appear at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court later on Tuesday.

Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7936397/Man-29-charged-GBH-three-die-street-fight.html

I News – The debate around whether Sikhs should be an ethnic group on the UK census is set to reignite

The issue has been divisive within the Sikh community

Serina Sandhu

London – UK, 24 January 2020. The divisive debate around whether Britain’s Sikh community should be considered an ethnic group is set to reignite as preparations are made for the 2021 census.

An Order Paper for the census in England and Wales, which will be laid before Parliament this year, will set out which questions the public will have to answer and give MPs a chance to debate and agree the proposals.

One topic that is likely to be up for discussion is the Office for National Statistic’s (ONS) decision against including a Sikh tick box under the ethnicity question.

Sikhism is already an option under the religion question on the census but some campaigners believe it is a religio-ethnic community that should be considered an ethnicity on the form, which collects information about the UK population every decade.

The Sikh Federation, a non-governmental organisation which aims to promote the community’s interests among policymakers, say there is a lack of information about Sikhs in Britain, which could impact the provision of public services for the community.

This could be resolved by making a Sikh tick box under the ethnicity question, which, unlike the religion category, is compulsory to fill in.

High Court battle

But in December, the Sikh Federation lost a High Court battle in which it argued it would be “unlawful” for the 2021 Census not to include the tick box.

The judge said the claim was “premature” and should have been brought after the Census Order. The Cabinet Office does not have a date for the order, which was expected in autumn 2019, but it is likely to be high on the agenda as the nationwide questionnaire is scheduled for next year.

The Sikh Federation, supported by some members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, is seeking permission to appeal the legal ruling.

“The High Court judgement on 12 December 2019 and the appeal are [putting] huge pressure on Cabinet Office ministers to grant the option of a Sikh ethnic tick box response in the draft Census Order to be presented to Parliament,” the federation told i.

A further legal challenge could mean the 2021 census suffers significant delays, it warned.

Chair of the APPG and Labour MP Preet Gill says the campaign for a Sikh ethnic tick box has cross-party support and that efforts are being made “to put this wrong right”.

“The Sikh community is asking the Government to give them the same rights as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community in ensuring public bodies record data so that service provision addresses the needs of the wider community regarding health inequalities, housing and school provision,” she adds.

However, other prominent members of the Sikh community believe the campaign for an ethnic tick box is misrepresenting what the population actually wants. Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon believes granting the tick box would go against the very foundations of the Sikh religion.

“Sikhism is a religion that recognises equality of all people and does not look favourably on people trying to be exclusive groups,” he tells i. “The difficulty is that there is a lot of ignorance about religion and particularly the Sikh religion,” he adds.

“I have spoken to MPs who are trying to be supportive who say we should support this ethnicity thing because that’s what the Sikhs want. Well they don’t. The Sikh Federation has a loud voice. They are misrepresenting the Sikh community.”

Consultation

The ONS, which is responsible for the census in England Wales, carried out a consultation on the Sikh tick box but decided against recommending any changes to the form.

It said the evidence showed it would “not be acceptable to a proportion of the Sikh population”.

“ONS considers that the estimates of the Sikh population can be met through data from the specific response option in the Sikh religion question,” it added.

During the last census, in 2011, 430,000 people said their religion was Sikh. But according to the Sikh Federation, the population could be between 700,000 and 800,000.

Even without any fundamental change to the ethnicity options in the 2021 census, people can still choose to write in Sikh under “other, specify”.

The Cabinet Office said: “Anyone who wishes to identify as Sikh has and will be able to do so.

“The Office for National Statistics’ recommendations follow extensive research and consultation with a range of groups and individuals, including the Sikh community.”

The Sikh Ethnic group as defined by the Law Lords is not based on biology but on sharing a common culture, the Sikh culture
Man in Blue

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/sikhs-ethnic-group-2021-uk-census-debate-government-1374913

The Indian Express – Tackling rising hate crime against Sikhs, stop & search, ethnic tick box main priorities

London – UK, 22 January 2020. Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill has been re-elected as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in London, said the Sikh Federation (UK) in a statement.

The Sikh Federation (UK) set up the APPG in 2005 and has been providing secretariat support to it for nearly 15 years.

Following the general election, its principal adviser, who acts as the secretariat for the APPG and interface with the Sikh community, wrote to each of the 150 MPs that have more than 1,000 Sikh constituents that the community will be looking to work on Sikh issues in the Sikh Manifesto 2020-2025 in the next five years.

In the 10 days leading up to the AGM, dozens of MPs from different political parties have come forward to become members of the APPG for British Sikhs. Supporting Preet Kaur Gill will be five vice-chairs from the Conservative Party, five vice-chairs from the Labour Party and three vice-chairs from the Scottish National Party.

Excerpts from a conversation that Kamalpreet Kaur had with Preet Gill:

What are the main priorities as the APPG chair this time around?

Main priorities include tackling rising hate crime against Sikhs, get the Sikh ethnic tick box, and help people facing problems wearing Kakar’s at workplaces, stop and searches, etc.

How are the issues being delegated within the group?

New Conservative MP Nicola Richards and Pat McFadden will lead on hate crimes whereas such crimes against the Sikhs are under-reported.

I and Eddie Hughes will continue to work on the Sikh tick box that is so important, to address inequalities, working with Home Office and other departments about the importance of 5 Kakar’s and Sikh code of practice.

Martin Docherty-Hughes will continue to lead on work with Jaggi Johal’s case. Also, work with all to raise 1984 and Justice Dhingra Report at the UN and India to try to get a Rwanda Style commission.

Last time the efforts around the Sikh tick box didn’t fructify. How confident are you that it will work this time?

I’m very confident because one of the court findings was that this matter had to be dealt with politically at the Cabinet Office level. And this is the issue of tackling gross inequalities in the Sikh community, which I’m sure the government wants to deal with too, especially the Sikh community. We need data for Sikhs.

I heard of the death of woman, for example, who committed suicide in the West Midlands, was of Sikh origin. We will never get that data. We will never understand the issues and inequalities faced by the community if we do not monitor them.

They might think we do not have any issues, but we have and because we are recognised as a religion and not an ethnic group, we can’t get data if the ONS doesn’t make religion mandatory data. We have a lot of Sikh immigration from Italy. How do we know the kind of problems they face if they are not monitored separately.

Eddie Hughes is very passionate about it and wants to lead. How great is that!

Being in majority, the Conservatives are getting to have their way over Brexit? What do you plan to do?

Continue to raise our voice and hold them to account wherever possible, push them to hold debates in the Parliament. With Brexit noise over, we can now actually focus on our own constituency and help people better. There’s a lot of work to do.

Labour Party leadership contest is on and you are very supportive of Kier Starmer. Why him?

I’m part of the Team Kier campaign. I believe he is the person who can bring the party together that will help us win. If we continue to remain divide the public will not trust us. He is experienced in helping people and human rights work, making difficult decisions about terrorism and sexual abuse cases.

https://indianexpress.com/?s=Tackling+rising+hate+crime+against+Sikhs

Metro UK – Laurence Fox gets ‘history lesson’ on Sikh troops who died for Britain in WWI

Emma Brazell

London – UK, 21 January 2020. Laurence Fox has been given a ‘history lesson’ after claiming Oscar-nominated war epic 1917 is ‘institutionally racist’ due to the inclusion of a Sikh soldier. The English actor, known for his role in Lewis, sparked fury when he said the appearance had ‘diverted’ attention away from ‘what the story is’.

He added that the ‘oddness of the casting’ caused a ‘very heightened awareness of the colour of someone’s skin’. Following the performer’s comments on James Delingpole’s podcast The Delingpod, people online have been educating him on the ‘vital’ role Sikh people played in World War I.

They pointed out that: One in six WWI soldiers were Indian (one in five Sikh) 74,000 Indian soldiers died for Britain in the First World War.

Tell Mama, a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the UK, took to Twitter to remind people that thousands of Sikhs from the Indian sub-continent fought and died for Britain in the First World War.

They wrote: ‘History lesson for Laurence Fox: Every sixth British soldier serving in WWI was from the Indian subcontinent, Sikhs made up more than 20% of the volunteer army (close to 1.5m served). ‘74,187 Indian soldiers died and a comparable number were wounded.’

The Twitter thread went onto speak of the importance of Sikh troops in the First Battle of Ypres, fought on the Western Front around Ypres, in West Flanders, Belgium in 1914. It read: ‘Sikh troops were vital in the first battle of Ypres, but their contributions were overlooked.

To read the full article:

Laurence Fox gets ‘history lesson’ on Sikh troops who died for Britain in WWI

Asian Lite – Three Sikh men stabbed to death in London

They were killed in a fight allegedly sparked by a dispute over money owed for construction work reports Asian Lite News

London – UK, 21 January 2020. The three Sikh men who were stabbed to death in a single attack in London, were killed in a row about not being paid for work, it has been claimed.

The victims of the stabbing near Seven Kings station in Ilford on Sunday night were identified as Harinder Kumar, 22, Narinder Singh, 26, and Baljit Singh, 34, the metro.co.uk said in a report.

They were killed in a fight allegedly sparked by a dispute over money owed for construction work, the report added.

Meanwhile, two Sikh men, aged 29 and 39, were arrested on suspicion of murder after the horrific incident.

According to the police, the fight between groups of Sikh men escalated into a fatal clash.

Speaking at the scene on Monday, Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said the suspects and the victims were all known to each other.

“We believe the groups involved are members of the Sikh community,” metro.co.uk quoted Clayman as saying.

3 Sikh men stabbed to death in London

Sikh Federation UK – UN Security Council to be approached to launch International Criminal Tribunal for 1984 Sikh Genocide following Indian government accepting Justice Dhingra findings

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by Sikh Federation UK

London – UK, 18 January 2020. Like-minded Sikhs in the Diaspora are preparing to come together and announce in the next two to three months the setting up of a collective platform across at least 20 countries with around 150-200 representatives.

The new set up that will allow for international co-ordination of political activities, around a shared global agenda that is being developed, is expected to double the number of countries it covers within 12-18 months.

The Sikh Federation (UK) is working with Sikhs from a dozen other countries on preparations, finalising the global agenda and names of representatives from different countries. The launch event is expected to be in Paris towards the end of March.

One of the five priorities of the new set up will almost certainly relate to the 1984 Sikh Genocide. Political pressure is already being exerted on the five members of the UN Security Council to launch a Rwanda-style International Criminal Tribunal looking into the crimes committed in the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

On Wednesday the BJP Indian government told the Supreme Court it accepted the findings in the report by the Justice S N Dhingra committee that was submitted to the court in November 2019.

The Justice S N Dhingra committee investigated 199 cases linked to the 1984 Sikh Genocide that were closed by the Supreme Court and its findings are damning for the police and judiciary.

They have found at best the police lacked interest in investigating. They did not preserve forensic evidence and in some cases failed to do the basics, such as, contacting the family members of those killed. In one case they noted that the investigating officer and the authorities were “not interested in getting the culprits punished” despite “overwhelming evidence”.

They have also highlighted that police officers “conspired” with the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh Genocide. For example, Inspector Tyagi deliberately disarmed local Sikhs of their licensed arms so that the perpetrators could make them victims and cause loss of life and property. Tyagi was suspended from service but later reinstated and promoted to assistant commissioner of police.

The judiciary were also all too happy to acquit those charged. They have found faults with the way certain judges had conducted trials as well, stating that the judges handed acquittals “in a routine manner”.

They have pointed out several loopholes in trials: “None of the judgments on record show that the judges were alive to the situation” of the 1984 Sikh Genocide or “were alive to the fact that for delay in lodging FIRs and statement of witnesses, the victims were not responsible.”

The Justice S.N. Dhingra committee was formed in 2015 by the BJP government after ten earlier commissions, committees or panels since 1984. The last Commission was the Nanavati Commission set up in 2000 that reported in 2005.

Although the Nanavati Commission directly implicated leading Congress politicians: Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath and Sajjan Kumar only the latter has been found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2018. It took more than 34 years after the 1984 Sikh Genocide for one leading politician to be found guilty. He is appealing to the Supreme Court to have his life sentence reduced.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“Our experiences from the last 35 years and this latest report shows the police, politicians and judiciary in India are corrupt to the core and the wheels of justice hardly turn. It is therefore impossible to secure justice within the Indian system for the 1984 Sikh Genocide.“

“With the work we have already undertaken in several countries and have planned in other countries we are confident in securing the support of the majority of the five members of the UN Security Council to launch a Rwanda-style International Criminal Tribunal looking into the crimes committed in the 1984 Sikh Genocide.”

“It is the entire Indian machinery, the police, armed forces, politicians, judiciary, state-owned media and the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh Genocide that must be put on trial in an international arena.”

“The world must be left in no doubt who was responsible for trying to wipe out the minority Sikh community throughout India in 1984 and why the only form of justice now available for Sikhs is to exercise their right to self-determination and an independent sovereign Sikh homeland.”

Harnek Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Times of India – Sikh diaspora calls for Rwanda-style tribunal for 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by Sikh Federation UK

London – UK, 19 January 2020. The Sikh Federation UK (SFUK), an UK NGO, is joining forces with around 200 Sikh representatives from more than 20 countries to lobby the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a “Rwanda-style” international tribunal to investigate crimes during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots [not riots/Congress organised pogroms].

In 1995, the UNSC established the “International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)” to prosecute those responsible for genocide and other violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda in 1994, which led to 93 indictments.

Last week, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government accepted the findings of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice S N Dhingra Committee, the latest of the 10 such other panels, which was scathing of the then Rajiv Gandhi government, judiciary, and Delhi Police, accusing them of not investigating anti-Sikh violence, while charging some police officers of conspiring with the perpetrators.

Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of SFUK, said: “Our experiences from the last 35 years and this latest report shows the police, politicians, and judiciary in India are corrupt to the core and the wheels of justice hardly turn.

It is therefore impossible to secure justice within the Indian system. We are confident in securing the support of the majority of the five members of the UN Security Council. It is the entire Indian machinery that must be put on trial in an international arena.”

Rami Ranger, chairman of the British Sikh Association, said he supports the initiative.

The SFUK is launching its new “collective platform” in Paris at the end of March and says it will allow for international co-ordination of a range of political activities around a shared global agenda.

Lord Singh, a British Sikh peer, said: “There should be a criminal investigation into 1984, there is no doubt. Many of us have been pressing for it for years. The Indian authorities aren’t doing it.”

But he said he could not see the UNSC entertaining it. “Britain, America, and Russia have all economic interests in India. It needs an independent inquiry. Britain would support a refusal to consider it. The UN can set it up but big global players should not be involved.”

He said, ideally, the India government should commission an independent inquiry.

“The Modi government can’t be blamed for 1984 but they could and should have launched an independent inquiry more on the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (assembled in South Africa after apartheid) as to lessons learned and if there is criminal behaviour and people are still about, they should be punished.

“The Justice Dhingra Committee report has not done that. It needs clout. It has drawn attention to failings and abuse in a kind of academic way, but it is not enough. A proper inquiry should go further and look to punishment and lessons learned.

The punishment is not as important as to the cause and how it started because there is a feeling in the Sikh community that it started at the very top of the government and there is evidence of that and that has not been clarified.

I don’t know why the present government can’t pin the blame on those responsible from Rajiv Gandhi downwards. That is what makes it a genocide, the deliberate, planned extermination of a people of a certain religion, and that has not been investigated.”

Preet Kaur Gill, British Sikh MP, told TOI: “I welcome the BJP accepting the findings of the Special Investigation Team (SIT). We have seen many investigations take place, so I commend the BJP for pushing this.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar has called 1984 (anti-Sikh riots) [not riots/Congress organised pogroms], a genocide and it must be recognised as such,” she said, referring to the comments of Javadekar where he said: “What happened in 1984 was not just riots but the worst kind of genocide against the Sikhs”.

https://m.timesofindia.com/world/uk/sikh-diaspora-calls-for-rwanda-style-tribunal-for-1984-anti-sikh-riots/articleshow/73393507.cms