| London, UK | 15 Sept 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Sikhs, gurdwara, Jallianwala Bagh and 1984. These were some of the words uttered by UK’S first Sikh female Member of Parliament (MP) in the maiden speech yesterday (14 September 2017).
“It is a historical moment for Sikhs in this country because Parliament is beginning to look more like the people it serves,” Preet Kaur Gill told her fellow MPs, holding in her hands the prepared text of her speech.
In June, Preet made history for being the first Sikh female to be elected as a Member of Parliament in the British snap general elections, while Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi became the first turban-wearing Sikh MP. Both are from the Labour Party.
The MP for Birmingham, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, has also been selected as a member of an influential parliamentary select committee which scrutinises the work of the home office.
“It is also an honour to be the first female Sikh to sit on these benches and to be here alongside my honourable friend the Member for Slough (Mr Dhesi), the first turban-wearing Sikh MP.
“Being the first Sikh female MP comes with a huge sense of responsibility. I and many others will be asked to raise difficult issues in the House on behalf of Sikhs, on matters such as hate crime, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Sikh ethnic monitoring in the 2021 census and an independent public inquiry into UK involvement in the 1984 Sikh genocide,” she said.
“For many decades, Sikhs have lived in this country, paid their taxes, fought in world wars and contributed to society in every way imaginable. It is a historical moment for Sikhs in this country because Parliament is beginning to look more like the people it serves.
“Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh—the ruler of the formidable Sikh empire from 1801 to 1839—and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, would have been immensely proud that the United Kingdom had elected its first female Sikh MP some 100 years after she, a prominent suffragette, had fought for women in this country to have the right to vote.” `
Among former Sikh lawmakers included Paramjit Dhanda, Piara Singh Kabra and Paul Uppal.
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