Calls grow for Priti Patel to be sacked for her anti-Sikh actions
“As a self-confessed backer of the right-wing BJP Indian Government Priti Patel is conflicted and dangerous in her role as Home Secretary. The actions she continues to take against the minority Sikh community shows her obvious bias and her latest attempt to defame British Sikhs stands fully exposed.” - Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK))
London – 18 March 2022
Nearly 300 Gurdwaras and organisations have signed up to an open letter to Boris Johnson calling for Priti Patel to be sacked for her anti-Sikh actions.
The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to Boris Johnson again today requesting a response to the three interrelated issues set out in the open letter sent to him more than five weeks ago on 9 February 2022.
In recent months we have had written exchanges and meetings with Conservative MPs, including Ministers who have been unable to defend the absence of a written or video message from the Prime Minister on the Gurpurb (Birthday) of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Most agree he should simply apologise for this blunder and make sure this never happens again. Some have blamed Jonathan Hellewell, his faith adviser at Number 10 and others have laid the blame for the gaffe with Michael Gove, the Communities Secretary and Kemi Badenoch, the Faith Minister.
However, the main concern in the Sikh community has been the speech delivered by Priti Patel to the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC on Gurpurb Day on 19 November 2021.
Speaking about the UK she referred to banning four extreme right-wing groups and that today she was laying an order in the UK Parliament banning Hamas. However, in between she stated: “Sikh separatist extremism has also caused considerable tensions in recent years.” This raised many eyebrows as it was deliberate and pre-planned to smear British Sikhs calling for self-determination and the re-establishment of an independent sovereign Sikh State.
Following meetings with Conservative MPs, including Ministers we have today written to the PM to suggest there should be an urgent investigation into Priti Patel’s appalling and inappropriate reference to Sikhs that is not supported by any evidence in the public domain.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing at Scotland Yard, who is tipped to become the next Metropolitan Police Commissioner said at a briefing yesterday there were around “800 live investigations running at the moment”. He confirmed about 80% of these are linked to Islamist extremism and that “remains the predominant ideological threat we face in our work.”
Today we have confirmed in writing with the Counter Terrorism Policing HQ that approximately another 18% relate to extreme right wing terrorism and the remaining cases are less than 2% and classified as LASIT (Left, Anarchist and Single Issue Terrorism).
This evidence based on the Counter Terrorism Policing network that works alongside MI5 and other partners makes Priti Patel’s assertion about Sikh separatist extremism totally absurd. It proves she is biased against Sikhs and has deliberately made a false assertion to smear British Sikhs exercising their democratic right in calling for Sikh independence.
On 3 March 2022 Priti Patel published a transparency report on a range of disruptive powers targeting extremists involved in terrorism. This includes data relating to arrests, prosecutions and convictions of those involved in terrorism in the UK in recent years. The data in this report is consistent with the data on live investigations shared by the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing at Scotland Yard. It confirms that Priti Patel was intentionally dishonest to refer to “Sikh separatist extremism” being a problem in the UK in recent times.
We can only conclude Priti Patel made her assertion in Washington DC to appease the right-wing BJP Indian Government lobby and demonstrates she is conflicted and once again in breach of the Ministerial Code. She was probably not expecting her statement in Washington DC to a right wing think tank backing Trump would be picked up and highlighted in the UK where those responsible for counter terrorism know her assertion is offensive to British Sikhs as well as a total lie.
The third issue in the open letter is the arbitrary detention in an Indian jail of British citizen Jagtar Singh Johal for over four years. On Wednesday Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary agreed at the dispatch box to meet his MP Martin Docherty-Hughes and Jagtar’s family. This came the same day as news of the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman held in jail in Iran for six years.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“Our letter to Boris Johnson today points out the Indian government has sided with Russia against Western democracies with regards to the attack on Ukraine. We have called on the UK Government to apply its own stated policy on arbitrary detention by increasing diplomatic pressure on India and securing the immediate release and return of Jagtar to his family in Scotland.”
Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)