The Tribune – Four found guilty of hacking Sikh to death in UK

London – UK, 14 June 2018. Four Indian-origin gang members have been found guilty of hacking a 28-year-old Sikh man to death two years ago as revenge for illicit affair with one of their wives here in the UK.

Gurinder Singh cried out for help as the masked gang chopped off his fingers with knives and swords and went on to attack him with a wooden club and a hammer in Southall, west London, in July 2016.

At the end of a nine-week trial in the Old Bailey court in London this week, Amandeep Sandhu, 30, and Ravinder Singh-Shergil, 31, were convicted of murder.

Vishal Soba, 30, was cleared of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter and assisting an offender. Kuldeep Dhillon, 27, was also cleared of murder by the jury but convicted of manslaughter and intimidation.

Judge Christopher Moss remanded the killers in custody until sentencing on June 22.

Gurinder Singh suffered 48 injuries on his head and body, and two of his fingers were recovered from the scene of the attack the following day.

I think that neither the killers nor their victim are/were very good Sikhs ……


Daily Mirror – British Army’s valiant Sikhs who sacrificed their lives for UK set for memorial monument at last

Jaimal Johal, the grandson and son of Sikh soldiers, remembers their hardships as Labour MP Tan Dhesi secures a London spot for monument

London – UK, 10 June 2018. Pushing a badly-wounded captain in a wheelbarrow under heavy fire through no man’s land, the brave lieutenant risked his life to save his superior.

The British assault in the 1915 Battle of Neuve-Chapelle in France ended disastrously, like so many in the First World War, when the reinforced Germans counterattacked.

One soldier called it “a foretaste of hell” with allied casualties totalling 13,000 over three days of brutal combat.

Mercifully George Henderson, the injured captain, recovered and survived the war. His saviour did not.

Shot in the leg during the daring rescue, amputation couldn’t save a hero who died of blood poisoning and gangrene a few weeks later despite evacuation to a Brighton hospital.

Subedar Manta Singh, of 2nd Sikh Royal Infantry, was a turbaned Sikh from the Punjab in India, one of 83,000 killed fighting in the service of Great Britain during two world wars.

More than 100,000 Sikhs were wounded.

Famed as fearsome warriors, some went into battle with chakram circular throwing weapons and talwar curved swords as well as rifles.

An incredible 10 Victoria Crosses have been won by soldiers serving in Sikh regiments.

During the First World War, 14 of the 22 Military Crosses awarded to Indian soldiers fighting with the British went to “the Lions” despite Sikhs being outnumbered by Hindu and Muslim troops in an expeditionary force sent from British-run India to Europe.

From Gallipoli to the Somme, where turbaned cavalrymen lifted despairing spirits, Sikhs were brothers-in-arms with young men from places such as Sunderland, Scunthorpe, Stoke and Swansea

That proud legacy continues today – most conspicuously on Saturday when Charanpreet Singh Lall, 22, a Sikh from Leicester, became the first Coldstream Guardsman to wear a turban in the Trooping the Colour.

Manta Singh’s proud grandson, Jaimal Johal, said ­conditions had been particularly harsh for soldiers used to much warmer weather in India.

“Winter was hard and Indian soldiers didn’t have proper clothing so they suffered. Some of them were just in shorts,” says Mr Johal, 79, a retired sub-postmaster in ­Maidenhead, Berks. He moved to Britain on Boxing Day 1961.

Henderson and Singh were not just comrades but friends whose bond forged in battle carried on in their families down the generations.

Singh’s son, Assa, who was Mr Johal’s father, served with the British Army alongside ­Henderson’s own son Robert. In turn Mr Johal remains in touch with Robert’s son, Ian.

Assa fought in North Africa during the Second World War and in Italy, including at the famous battle of Monte Cassino.

The largely overlooked sacrifice and heroism of Sikh servicemen has long rankled with the 450,000-strong community in Britain but official recognition is finally near to right this wrong.

Victory is in sight for Slough’s new Labour MP, Tan Dhesi, the first turbaned Sikh in the House of Commons.

He has amassed an impressive cross-party alliance demanding a national memorial in a prominent London ­location.

Elected only last year, Mr Dhesi gained Government backing after securing support from every party in Parliament.

Those behind the project include veteran Tory Ken Clarke, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable, and John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

His Commons motion calling for a Sikh monument is the most popular this session, collecting 266 signatures.

He says: “Memorials exist in London for soldiers from the Commonwealth, British India, Poland, African-Caribbean nations and for the Gurkhas but none of a turbaned Sikh soldier.”

He went on: “They fought together, died together and must be memorialised together.

A statue of turbaned soldiers would be a huge statement, a historic and unique addition to the skyline of our capital – indeed the first-ever statue of turbaned Sikhs in any global capital outside of India.

“I believe it would help to promote integration and community cohesion and would show us in a very good light to all, including those millions of tourists who visit London each year.”

Mr Dhesi raised £350,000 of the estimated £1 million cost and is pushing hard for the sculpture to be erected on a main ceremonial route – Whitehall, The Mall or Constitution Hill, between Buckingham Palace and Green Park.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid gave a green light when Communities Secretary by establishing a working group to explore ­potential sites. He said the Government is prepared to chip in towards the cost.

“We are indebted to all those servicemen who volunteered to serve and fought to defend the freedoms we enjoy today,” says Mr Javid in an official statement.

He adds: “That’s why a Sikh war memorial in our capital will honour their sacrifice.”
Soldiers of all faiths have been part of the British Army for well over 100 years (Image: PA)

ITV news presenter and Good Morning Britain political editor Ranvir Singh says a monument is overdue.

“We were not taught in school how much other nations did for the British war effort,” she says. “But now the public are aware of how brave and warrior-like the Sikh soldiers were.

“I want my son to grow up seeing men with turbans remembered and respected for what they did to help him live in a free society.”

A hundred years on from the end of the First World War, it’s frequently overlooked how much of the British effort was multicultural.

There were more than three million soldiers and labourers from what then was the British Empire, including 1.27 million from a colonial India encompassing Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Sunder Katwala, director of the think-tank British Future, says: “Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and white British officers fought together [in] the Indian Army in both world wars, the largest volunteer armies in history.

“Many people are quite surprised to hear the armies that fought a century ago look more like the Britain of 2018 than that of 1918.”

Manta Singh was among a number of Indian soldiers cremated on the South Downs at Patcham. A Chattri shrine commemorates them.

Yesterday Jaimal Johal and Ian Henderson, grandsons of rescuer and rescued at the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle, paid their joint respects at the sacred place.

Mr Henderson, a former Commonwealth war graves commissioner, says: “It wasn’t really the Sikhs’ war but they were loyal.”

Mr Johal added: “They deserve a good memorial.”

Euro News – Sikh guardsman first to wear turban at Trooping the Colour

Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall 

Emma Beswick

London – UK, 09 June 2018. Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall was the first soldier ever to wear a turban during the Trooping the Colour parade in London on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Sikh from Leicester is a member of the Coldstream Guards and wore a black turban with a ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats worn by the other soldiers.

Lall was one of around 1,000 servicemen and women who took part in the event to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

He told the BBC he expected it would encourage those from different religions and backgrounds to join the Army.

“I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history,” he said.

Born in India, Guardsman Lall moved to the UK with his family when he was a baby.

The Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies to mark the official birthday of the British sovereign.

Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were in attendance along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Senior royals including the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also took part in the event.

Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, did not attend, having retired from public life last year. – Winter is coming: Why Sikhs need to prepare for the imminent storm

Sikhs in the diaspora need to get ready

Sunny Hundal

London – UK, 20 May 2018. Winter is coming, Jon Snow frequently warned in Game of Thrones. I feel a bit like that sometimes.

Sikhs are a small global community, closely connected to each other through blood, tradition, history and, of course, the internet. And so I want to say that ‘winter is coming’.

The global Sikh community is about to face new challenges and we need to prepare for them.

A few weeks ago I was invited by the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada to speak with others on how we could challenge the negative media coverage Canadian Sikhs had been receiving. But the challenges that Sikhs now face are global, not just in Canada.

I don’t look like a Sikh, nor do I claim to be an expert on Sikhi.

In fact my knowledge of Sikhi is terrible. But I am a keen observer of politics. So I’m offering my views as neither a ‘Sikh leader’ nor with aspirations to be one. I am offering these warnings, suggestions and ideas for debate.

The first storm: tensions between Sikhs and the Indian government will grow again

India’s BJP government knows the power of the diaspora.

They knew it in 2002 when UK groups were exposed as sending money to fund hate. They learned more in 2003 when American charities helping the BJP were investigated.

They saw its power when the diaspora lobbied to ban Narendra Modi from entering the UK and USA. They knew its power when they tapped British and American Gujaratis for money and for the 2014 elections.

So Narendra Modi knows that a clash with Sikhs abroad is inevitable.

The Sikh diaspora, unafraid of the Indian government, will keep demanding justice for 1984 and highlight human rights violations. To neutralise such accusations the PM of India has repeatedly accused Sikhs of funding terrorism without proof (in 2015 and 2018, in UK and Canada).

This clash won’t just continue but is likely to grow as the Sikh diaspora matures and becomes more powerful (as I wrote a few months ago).

Modi also knows a clash with Sikhs in India is inevitable.

The party has already whipped up hate against Muslims (in UP, Bihar, Karnataka), and Dalits and Christians for elections.

Why should they spare Sikhs? They want to win elections in Punjab too.

I know it sounds a little bit paranoid, except their script is already playing out in public: The BJP line is that Khalistani terrorists are targeting Hindus and being funded by Pakistan and Sikhs abroad.

The evidence doesn’t exist. But the narrative splits Sikhs and makes Hindus rally to the party. The Congress reaction in Punjab has been to look tougher by promising a bigger crackdown on Khalistanis. The over-blown case around Jagtar Singh Johal looks like a prime example of this strategy.

While the British media largely ignored India’s silly claims, but the Canadian media did not. This effort by the Indian government is only going to intensify, and its aim will be to split the Sikh community.

Why is this suddenly a bigger issue now? Because Modi’s right-wing government is ruthless and its RSS arm has long wanted to absorb Sikhi in its fold.

And because Canadian and British Sikhs have been thrust into the political limelight since 2015.

The second storm: More hostility and tension in the west

Canadian Sikhs are also facing increasing hostility (example 1, example 2) because of this new limelight.

Sikhs are a much larger proportion of the Canadian population (500k out of 30 million) than in the UK (500k out of 65m) or the United States (700k out of 325m). And they are concentrated in certain cities in Canada, so they are more influential during elections.

Every minority group including Catholics and Jews has faced similar treatment in the past, so Sikhs are not alone in that. American Muslims are going through those pains right now. So we have to be prepared for it.

But there are added complications for Sikhs, just like Muslims face.

First, Some leftists and liberals think Sikhs threaten secularism because they are visibly religious (unlike Catholics and Jews). This is a European attitude prominent in France and Quebec.

It’s also why Jagmeet Singh faced some hostility in Quebec. Its an attitude Britain could also develop over time as most people drift away from religion.

Secondly, the British and Canadian media have an inbuilt aversion to any political movement that talks about ‘separatism’ (because of Scotland and Quebec), which is what Khalistan sounds like to them. If they equate Sikh political activism with demanding Khalistan they will naturally be hostile to it.

Think I’m exaggerating? The recent Canadian media coverage has led to protests like this below. Expect these people to grow.

So how should Sikhs respond? Here are some of my suggestions, in brief.

1. Sikhs need infrastructure

Canadian Sikhs are not complacent. They have faced a suspicious media for years so they have advocacy groups such as the World Sikh Organization. The WSO talks the language of human rights and they have been building strong links with other communities for years. The Sikh Coalition in the US has been doing the same.

In contrast, British Sikh groups aren’t as well mobilised, connected or resourced. The Sikh Press Association is one attempt at changing that (which I support), but British Sikhs are nowhere near ready for what is coming.

Sikhs don’t need more Gurdwaras, they need think-tanks, advocacy groups, research organisations. They need Political Action Committees. The coming challenges we face cannot be overcome with guns or praying, but through our brains.

We need to build an infrastructure that is democratic, transparent and accountable. We need to build institutions that can last, institutions that are representative of the gender and cultural diversity of our communities.

We need organisations that will create the leaders of tomorrow. Every other significantly-sized minority community in Britain has such organisations. Except Sikhs. This has to change.

2. Sikhs need to get much better at internal disagreement

I understand why many Sikhs worry about the Indian government. But this has also had a destructive impact on internal debate.

A community that cannot have a vigorous and healthy disagreement becomes oppressive. It becomes stale and decayed. Sikhs cannot go down that path.

A Sikh community that allows disagreement is more unified than one where different views are suppressed. It sounds paradoxical but its true. We are a global community spread out all over the world and we come into contact with different ideas, cultures and people.

Maintaining cohesion in coming generations won’t be easy. It can only be done by accepting different views rather than trying to drive them out. (I’m not arguing for allowing alcohol and meat at Gurdwaras!).

What do I mean by this?

I mean theological differences should not lead to someone’s turban being knocked off at a Gurdwara. It should not mean that inter-faith marriages get disrupted by threats.

I also mean we should tolerate views we may disagree with or find offensive… Guru Tegh Bahadur gave up his life for the right of Hindus to practise their faith even if the Mughal emperor found them offensive.

The ninth Guru stood up for free speech and freedom of religion, why can’t we? Yet Sikhs protested a positive movie about Guru Nanak!

Sikhs really need to develop a thicker skin.. Barfi Culture was criticised just for publishing this story on how a disabled Sikh felt let down by Slough Gurdwara. Since then I’ve heard many more similar stories from other disabled Sikhs. Should their voices be silenced? Sikhs cannot have an healthy internal debate without a free exchange of views.

3. Sikhs have to better communicate with the outside world

It’s worth emphasising again how little the outside world knows about Sikhs. Changing this had become my brother Jagraj Singh’s mission. He made videos in Spanish, Chinese and other languages so people would hear what Sikhi was about in their language.

Sikhs have to do the same with English. And we have to get better at communicating that through the media. That doesn’t mean issuing more press releases, it means talking to people in a language they understand.

Politically, this means our language has to become universal: human rights not just Sikh rights. We have to stand with other minority groups when they are attacked. Build solidarity.

We also have to stop being hostile towards the western media and see it as a necessary channel of communication, even if we cannot control it. Some of the bad coverage Sikhs get could be improved merely through better media communication and less hostility.


I have no intention of becoming a media spokesperson for the Sikh community, I genuinely don’t. I’m a firm believer that lots of Sikh voices should be represented in the mainstream, even if they disagree with each other.

But I do support Sikh politicisation. Our community has become too obsessed with money and success, rather than wielding our power and using our brains and knowledge for the good of the world.

Just before he fell deeply ill, Jagraj Singh said something important: “Guru Sahib has told us, where ever we are, take hold of power and change!

For whom? Change not for our benefit but, working for the benefit of everyone. Giving food, giving justice to everyone. Sikhs are the ones who are willing to put their lives on the line to give other people freedom.”

I believe its time we paid more attention to that goal.

Dawn – Mother convicted in UK of tricking daughter into forced marriage in Pakistan

London – UK, 23 May 2018. A mother was convicted in a British court on Tuesday of deceiving her teenage daughter into travelling to Pakistan to enter into a forced marriage, in the first successful prosecution of its kind.

The woman, who cannot be named without uncovering the identity of her daughter, was found guilty following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court where a jury heard how the girl had sobbed as she was wedded to a male relative 16 years her senior, the same man who had sex with her and left her pregnant on an earlier trip.

The then 13-year-old had to undergo an abortion on returning from Pakistan to Britain, but concerns over the girl’s welfare were allayed by her mother who said the pregnancy was a result of “two teenagers who had sneakily had sex”, prosecutors said.

Jurors heard how as the girl approached her 18th birthday she was tricked by her mother into returning to Pakistan on what she was told would be a family holiday.

The couple were then married in September 2016 despite objections from the girl, before she was returned to Britain with the assistance of the Home Office and her mother was arrested in January 2017.

The mother was convicted on a charge of deceiving the victim into travelling abroad to enter into a forced marriage, the first conviction of its kind, as well as for the forced marriage itself and for perjury, after she lied about the incident in the High Court, where she was summoned when concerns were raised by authorities.

As the verdicts were read the defendant appeared shocked and was remanded in custody for sentencing on Wednesday, as her daughter watched from the public gallery.

Judge Patrick Thomas QC told the jury the adjournment was appropriate as the case was “entirely novel”, with no other relevant case law to rely upon.

“Forcing someone into marriage against their wishes is a criminal offence, and a breach of their human rights,” said Elaine Radway of the Crown Prosecution Service.

“It is thanks to the brave testimony of the victim that this serious offending was uncovered and that there was sufficient evidence to secure the conviction today.” The new offence of forced marriage came into effect in June 2014, but prosecutions have been rare.

However the Forced Marriage Unit, a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office team, provided support to about 1,200 potential cases in 2017, a government spokesman said, making Britain a “world leader” in tackling the problem.

Sikh parents better beware ! Do not play such foul tricks on your children.
Arranged marriages are fine as long as the young couple has the final say in the matter.
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation – British Indians revive action over tricolour desecration in UK

Posted to Sikh News Discussion

London – UK, 12 May 2018. The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to the PTI journalist and shared a letter to the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) that has asked them not to spread untruths and make an apology.

The Sikh Federation (UK) will issue a press release on Sunday before the meeting arranged by Virendra Sharma MP in Parliament and the handing of so-called photographic and video evidence to 10 Downing Street on Monday.

The press release will also deal with the farcical suggestion or threat that India may take the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

British Indians revive action over tricolour desecration in UK

The New Indian Express – The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said the Indian government was “deeply anguished” over the incident.

London – UK, 11 May 2018. Indian community groups here plan to reach out directly to British Prime Minister Theresa May for action within three weeks against protestors responsible for the desecration of India’s national flag during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UK visit last month.

On April 18, during the bilateral leg of Modi’s visit to the UK, some protesters at Parliament Square turned aggressive during which the Indian Tricolour was torn down from one of the official flagpoles set up for all 53 Commonwealth countries to mark the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and ripped up by some protesters.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said the Indian government was “deeply anguished” over the incident.

“We expect action, including legal action, against the people involved in the incident and also people responsible for instigating the incident,” an MEA spokesperson said at the time.

The Scotland Yard had registered a case of assault in relation to the incident and continues to investigate.

“We received an allegation of assault on April 19 relating to an incident in Parliament Square on April 18.

No arrests

Enquiries continue,” a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, an online petition on website launched by the Friends of India Society International (FISI) in UK demanding action against the “culprits who brought down Indian flag and torn under the watchful eyes of British police” has attracted nearly 22,000 of the 25,000 target signatures.

“We are preparing a detailed presentation, including all the evidence gathered from social media and other sources, and will be handing it over for the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on Monday,” said Pravin Patel, of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society.

His group has found the backing of a senior Indian Supreme Court advocate, E V Venugopal, who has set a timeline of three weeks for the British government to take decisive action after which he plans to take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a “crime against humanity”.

“We will knock on the doors of justice and make our representation to the British government.

We don’t ask for sympathy.

We want action against this hate crime, as per the law of the land.

The pride of my country is at stake,” Venugopal said.

Based on social media evidence, the group wants the British government to take action against the pro-Khalistani groups behind the incident.

“These Khalistani elements are encouraging terrorism on this soil.

This conspiracy of terrorist groups should be highlighted because they are waging war against India which can spill over into England as well,” added Venugopal.

The perpetrators, caught on camera with the tricolour, were pro-Khalistani demonstrators brought together with Kashmiri separatist groups under the banner of the so-called “Minorities Against Modi” group, led by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed.

A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said the UK government had been in touch with the Indian High Commission soon after the incident.

“While people have the right to hold peaceful protests, we are disappointed with the action taken by a small minority in Parliament Square and contacted High Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as soon as we were made aware,” a spokesperson said.

A senior broadcast journalist from one of the leading Indian media channels covering the protests was also caught up in the scrum and has had her police complaint with the Met Police registered as a hate crime.

On Monday, veteran Indian-origin MP Virendra Sharma has called a meeting over the issue in a House of Commons committee room to evaluate further steps.

Venugopal and other Indian community groups are planning to join that meeting following their Downing Street visit.

“They have tried to create an atmosphere of hate in this country, which respects freedom of speech.

The use of British land by such disruptive elements should not be left unchecked because it could lead to worse scenarios and escalate further,” said Dr Anand Arya, spokesperson for the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP).

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), an umbrella body of over 400 Hindu organisations in the UK, has also written to the UK Home Secretary calling for action against the Lord Ahmed and Sikh Federation UK for the “hate crime” against British citizens during the protests.

The Sikh Federation, UK termed the entire incident an “over reaction” to an “impromptu removal of the Indian flag”.

The Tribune – Indian drug-dealer jailed in England

London – UK, 03 May 2018. An Indian-origin drug dealer has been jailed for nearly eight years by a UK court for conspiring to supply 10 kg of cocaine in London.

Gurdip Samra, 44, was arrested in November last year as part of a joint operation by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and Scotland Yard’s Organised Crime Partnerships (OCP).

The officers first arrested Samra’s accomplice, Mark Lammin, after accosting him as he carried 10 kg of cocaine in a large holdall in Surrey, south-east England.

A short time later, officers stopped a black Range Rover, which was parked in the vicinity of his planned drugs handover and arrested Samra.

The duo was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court earlier this week, with Samra jailed for seven years and eight months and Lammin sentenced to six years and six months behind bars. He and Samra were both charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. (PTI)

The Tribune – Indian doctors in UK hailed for their contribution to NHS

London – UK, 26 April 2018. Indian doctors in the UK who have worked for decades in Britain’s National Health Service were on Thursday hailed for their contribution and building up the country’s healthcare system.

Britain’s Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) launched a new exhibition to pay tribute to the Indian doctors who were the very “lifeblood” of the National Health Service (NHS) and were amongst its “architects”.

‘Migrants Who Made the NHS’ is a celebration of thousands of doctors who came from South Asia to keep the UK’s state-funded NHS afloat by working as general practitioners in some of the most deprived and far-flung areas of the country between the 1940s and 1980s.

“General practice in the UK would not be what it is today without the hard work, innovation, and courage of our predecessors, and their dedication to delivering high-quality patient care. Indeed, without them, our profession and the NHS might not even exist at all,” said Professor Mayur Lakhani, President of the RCGP.

“Not only were they doctors, but they became highly-valued members of the communities in which they practised. Whilst many faced incredible challenges, our exhibition also documents the overwhelmingly positive and lifelong relationships they forged with their patients,” he said.

The exhibition, at the headquarters of the college in central London, marks the 70th anniversary year of the NHS and comes at a time when there is growing debate around its future staffing and funding needs.

Based on the book ‘Migrant architects of the NHS: South Asian doctors and the reinvention of British general practice (1940s-1980s)’ by Dr Julian M Simpson, the new exhibition draws on archival research, photographs and oral history interviews with 40 general practitioners who moved to Britain from South Asia during that period, including some who are still practising today.

“It’s important to also remember that the National Health Service was established to make healthcare accessible to those who could not afford it. And for millions of people, particularly in working-class communities across Britain, accessing that care meant going to see a GP from the Indian subcontinent,” said Simpson.

“Doctors from the Indian sub-continent were therefore not just contributing to the NHS, they were its very lifeblood. We should acknowledge they were amongst the architects of the NHS,” he notes.

By the 1980s, around 16 per cent of general practitioners working in the NHS had been born in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. They were responsible for delivering patient care to around a sixth of the British population. In some areas they made up more than half of the general practitioners population.

“The NHS evolved during its first four decades into a system based around general practice and primary care. By becoming family doctors, South Asian doctors prevented a general practitioners recruitment crisis. Through their work, they shaped the field as it transformed itself into the cornerstone of the British healthcare system,” Simpson explains.

The new exhibition is aimed at demonstrating how doctors from the Indian sub-continent kept the family doctor service thriving in the UK, particularly for patients in working-class and inner-city areas.

The South Asian doctors filled the void largely created by UK doctors choosing to work overseas, and before general practice gained belated recognition as a medical specialty on par with hospital medicine.

Britain was a popular choice for South Asian doctors to practise medicine during the 1940s-80s, given the well-established links built during the British Empire. Medical training in the Indian subcontinent remained heavily under British influence after independence.

The lack of UK-trained doctors wanting to work as general practitioners meant that it was an area of medicine where South Asian doctors could build good careers, the RCGP notes.

This was particularly the case in poor, industrial areas where patient demand was high but general practitioners recruitment was difficult, and as a result, the presence of overseas general practitioners became very concentrated.

There was also a wider impact and influence of migration from the Indian subcontinent on British medicine. There are today 1,724 doctors with the common Indian surname Patel on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) list of registered medical practitioners, only slightly fewer than doctors with the common British surname of Smith (1,750).

South Asian doctors often faced discrimination, racial and sexual, when applying for jobs and the exhibition also looks at the adversity they came up against.

The Royal College of General Practitioners is Britain’s professional membership body with a network of more than 52,000 family doctors. (PTI)

The Tribune – India demands legal action against those who tore Tricolour during Modi’s UK visit

London – UK, 20 April 2018. India has demanded legal action against those behind the desecration of the Indian flag at Parliament Square here during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UK visit.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the matter had been taken up with the UK government and had been regretted at the highest level.

“We are deeply anguished with the incident involving our National Flag at Parliament Square. The matter was taken up promptly and strongly with the UK side, and it has been regretted at highest level,” Ministry of Exernal Affair spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters on Thursday.

“We expect action, including legal action, against the people involved in the incident and also people responsible for instigating the incident,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi, after his arrival in the country, was greeted by some groups protesting against atrocities in India.

On Wednesday, during the bilateral leg of Modi’s visit to the UK, some protesters at Parliament Square turned aggressive during which the Indian Tricolour was torn down from one of the official flagpoles set up for all 53 Commonwealth countries to mark the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and ripped up by some protesters.

The perpetrators, caught on camera, were pro-Khalistani demonstrators brought together with Kashmiri separatist groups under the banner of the so-called ‘Minorities Against Modi’ group, led by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed.

There is growing pressure on the UK government to act against Ahmed, who is seen as repeatedly “instigating” violence against India on the UK soil.

A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said the UK government had been in touch with the Indian High Commission soon after the incident.

“While people have the right to hold peaceful protests, we are disappointed with the action taken by a small minority in Parliament Square and contacted High Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as soon as we were made aware,” a spokesperson said.

Scotland Yard also issued a statement following the protests and confirmed that it is investigating the incident involving the Indian tricolour being pulled down.

“Police are investigating after an Indian flag in Parliament Square was pulled down at 15:00 [UK time] on Wednesday, 18 April. The flag has been replaced. There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.

A senior broadcast journalist from one of the leading Indian media channels covering the protests, who was caught up in the scrum, has now also registered a formal police complaint with the Met Police.

“To my shock, the protesters while raising anti-India slogans brought the Indian flag down, tore it with scissors until it was completely destroyed…Within seconds, I was pushed, abused and intimidated,” Loveena Tandon, who represents Aaj Tak news channel in the UK, said in a statement.

“A message must be sent to all those out there that we journalists make people aware of what is going on in the world. Shutting us up or being violent towards us defeats their own purpose of being heard,” she said.

The incident also went viral on social media, with people expressing their shock and support to the journalist who was caught up in the incident.

The groups involved were seen with “Free Jaggi” posters and T-shirts, calling for the release of Jagtar Singh Johal who is lodged in a Punjab jail over his alleged involvement in the targeted killings in the state.