PRESS STATEMENT | SIKH FEDERATION UK
London (11 June 2018): Earlier today Indian Home Minister, Kiren Rijiju met Home Office Minister Baroness Williams in Delhi and demanded restrictions on the Sikh Federation (UK).
It has been widely reported by the Indian media that Kiren Rijiju raised the issue of anti-Indian government activities by the Sikh Federation (UK). He stated “certain elements . . . are misusing UK’s territory to propagate or . . . conduct activities” to oppose the Indian government and damage its image on the world stage.
He said he told “the minister that using the UK’s territory for an anti-India agenda must be curtailed”.
He suggested freedom of speech was being “misused to abuse the country’s (India’s) image” and continued “we are very clear that the UK should not be a country where anti-Indian activities can be conducted without any kind of restriction or check”.
It has been hinted by the Indian media that Baroness Williams raised concerns about prison conditions in India. Although not stated this may relate to the detention and torture of 31-year old Scot, Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton who has been held without charge for 220 days.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said
“Since the 1984 Sikh Genocide we have been exposing the Indian authorities for gross human rights violations, including torture, false imprisonment, fake encounters and genocide..”
“In the absence of any justice for these crimes against humanity we have been highlighting our right to self determination and the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland.”
“Successive Indian governments of different political persuasions have in the last 15 years called for restrictions against us for opposing the Indian regime and calling for Sikh independence.”
SEE ALSO: Understanding Sikh activism in Britain (Asia Samachar, 16 Nov 2017)
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“In the past much of this lobbying was done behind the scenes and at times the British authorities have capitulated. For example, when the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) was falsely banned following political pressure in 2001.”
“However, in the last few years we have taken legal action and had the political ban on the ISYF lifted and won the respect of many British politicians on all sides with nearly 20 years of lobbying.
“We have exposed the UK Government on its involvement in the 1984 Sikh Genocide by the Indian State and anti-Sikh measure in the UK, gained unofficial backing from some in the UK government and from governments abroad and are now making in roads at the United Nations.”
“The rise in the profile of the Sikh Federation (UK) has coincided with the pro-right wing BJP Indian government coming to power in 2014 and promoting extreme anti-minority and anti-women policies.”
“Governments across the globe know the BJP government has been encouraging or turning a blind eye to the regular killing of minorities and rape of women and children.”
“The BJP government has tried all sorts of tactics to reduce our influence and support but has failed. It is now getting desperate and in effect blackmailing the British authorities to impose restrictions.”
“When we learn Indian Ministers specifically name the Sikh Federation (UK) in bilateral discussions for exposing and damaging the Indian regime we take pride in our work and strive to do more to highlight continued abuses by the Indian State and the case for Sikh independence.”
The Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK that leads on political engagement for the British Sikh community. The organisation is often referred to as the first and only Sikh political party in the UK. The Sikh community in the UK and throughout the diaspora look to the organisation for leadership and direction.
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)
[The above statement, entitled ‘Indian Home Minister concerned about Sikh Federation (UK) anti-Indian government activities calls on British Minister to impose restrictions’, was shared via the social media]
June 1984: The Turning Point (Asia Samachar, 8 June 2018)
UK Sikh community raise concerns with Theresa May to take up with Narendra Modi next week (Asia Samachar, 13 April 2018)
Understanding Sikh activism in Britain (Asia Samachar, 16 Nov 2017)
British government ‘covered up’ its role in Amritsar massacre in India – The Observer (Asia Samachar, 29 Oct 2017)