GB News spreading lies about those campaigning for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland
London – 24 August 2023
Without any evidence Nigel Farage controversially stated on GB News on 22 August that the “finger of blame” for the gang violence at the Panjabi Kabaddi Sports tournament in Derby two days earlier was the work of those linked to the Khalistan movement i.e. those legitimately campaigning for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland.
The England Kabaddi Federation yesterday clarified in a video message that the gang violence that took place in Derby involved a personal dispute between two groups and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Khalistan movement. Nigel Farage wrongly and irresponsibly links the gang violence that the police are still investigating to the Khalistan movement to fit a right wing narrative and harmful stereotype without presenting any evidence to back up his claim.
Nigel Farage’s guest, Wasiq Wasiq of the Henry Jackson Society, that is well-known for its right wing views, worryingly introduces a political motive for the gang violence without providing any evidence. This was an attempt to deliberately demonise those campaigning for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland and absurdly suggests there is too much focus by the Home Office on right wing extremism. However, the only vague link he presents to back up his assertion in the GB News broadcast is the appearance of flags in support of a Sikh homeland next door to the location of the Kabaddi tournament. We understand the adjoining venue is owned by The Panjab Times newspaper.
Towards the end of the GB News segment on the gang violence in Derby Nigel Farage states “a much larger number of Sikhs” have been crossing the channel this year in dinghies (small boats) in clear anti-Sikh rhetoric. In the first quarter of 2023, the largest group of arrivals crossing in small boats were Afghans (23.7%), followed by Indians (17.7%) and Iranians (14.1%). Sikhs are a tiny minority in these countries. Even in India where the vast majority of Sikhs live, they comprise less than 2% of the Indian population. We have confirmed there is no official information available or collected to suggest how many crossing the channel in small boats are Sikhs and if there has been an increase.
Wasiq Wasiq of the Henry Jackson Society, speaking about those crossing the channel in small boats goes further by stating; “it is not only Khalistani extremists we are dealing with”. He makes this baseless statement without any information available of the number of Sikhs crossing the channel in small boats, let alone those he offensively describes as “Khalistani extremists”.
The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to GB News to point out the segment on gang violence in Derby on the Farage programme was inaccurate and biased, misrepresented the facts, was offensive, misleading, discriminatory, spread hate and was unfair.
Dabinderjit Singh, the Principal Adviser to the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“We have pointed out there was an absence of an alternative viewpoint to that given by Nigel Farage and Wasiq Wasiq from the Henry Jackson Society.”
“No attempt has been made to date to check the facts of the Derby incident with the police and correct the inaccuracies broadcast on GB News.”
“We have publicly and via email requested an opportunity to respond on GB News to the false information and allegations made.”
We understand dozens of complaints have been sent to Ofcom about the segment aired on Tuesday on the Farage programme about the gang violence in Derby. The Sikh Federation (UK) has submitted a complaint accusing GB News of defaming those campaigning for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland by making false assertions.
Dabinderjit Singh added:
“The GB News segment was deeply concerning and has been reported for multiple breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.”
“We have reported GB News to Ofcom as what it has broadcast is offensive (2.1), materially misled the audience (2.2), discriminatory (2.3), amounts to hate speech (3.2), contains abusive material (3.3), is inaccurate and biased (5.1), not been corrected (5.2), is misrepresentation of facts (5.7), there is an absence of alternative viewpoints (5.9), it was unfair (7.1) and no opportunity has been given to respond to the false information and allegations made (7.11).”
We understand Sikh lawyers are considering the possibility of legal action for defamation. GB News, Nigel Farage and Wasiq Wasiq from the Henry Jackson Society will need to produce proof to back the allegations made on the Farage programme with regards to those campaigning for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland being responsible for the gang violence. They will also need to prove “a much larger number of Sikhs” or “Khalistani extremists” have been crossing the channel this year in dinghies” when no official information of this kind is available.
Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation UK