Outrageous actions by the Indian authorities are alienating Sikhs across the globe
London – 7 August 2023
On 1 August the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the homes of leading Sikh activists from the UK. For example, the NIA targeted and intimidated the families of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK). Their family members were summoned to appear before the NIA court in Delhi on 3 and 7 August and to their surprise faced a grilling about the protest outside the Indian High Commission in London on the 19 March.
The raids, intimidation and line of questioning are outrageous as an NIA investigation team visited the UK, examined CCTV footage and released on social media individual images of each of the protesters. The NIA is clearly incompetent as the evidence they gathered and released showed neither the Chair or Vice Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) who are internationally recognised were not part of the 19 March protest.
The NIA on the same day also raided the premises in Patiala of Khalsa Aid, a UK-based international NGO that is a globally respected humanitarian organisation that has been provided support to flood victims in Punjab and Haryana. These unwarranted and provocative raids on UK Sikh activists have been widely condemned by Sikhs and non-Sikhs across the globe.
To make matters worse earlier this week Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi the MP for Slough the first turban wearing Sikh in the UK Parliament was stopped at Amritsar airport. His OCI card had been cancelled for supporting the farmers’ protest, that was termed ‘anti-India activities’.
The Immigration Department had been advised to send back all those who had their OCI cards cancelled. In this case they made an exception for Dhesi to avoid a diplomatic incident, but his treatment has caused much dismay.
The approach being taken by the Indian agencies like the NIA has in recent months become a major liability and hugely damaged the reputation of the Indian government on the global stage. Absurd extradition requests, assassinations, issuing a ‘hit-list’ of Sikh activists living in other countries on Indian television, targeting families of UK Sikh activists living in Punjab and Sikh politicians has also upset a number of governments.
ENDS Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)