Over 200 Sikh organisations want Boris Johnson to sack Priti Patel
London – 7 February 2022
Over 150 UK Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations published on open letter today complaining about a Number 10 blunder of completely forgetting to recognise the Gurpurb (Birthday) of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on 19 November 2021.
Over 200 Sikh organisations are expected to add their signatures to the letter to be sent to Boris Johnson on Wednesday and copied to other party leaders. Over 10,000 constituents covering over 200 MPs are expected to add their signatures in the next 48 hours and to ask their own MPs to take robust action against Priti Patel.
The oversight of Gurpurb is highly embarrassing for Boris Johnson, Number 10, the PMs faith adviser - Jonathan Hellewell, the Communities Secretary and the Faith Minister who all forgot to acknowledge one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar.
To make matters much worse it appears on the same day Priti Patel, the Home Secretary gave a hard-hitting speech on terrorism in Washington DC. In her address to the Heritage Foundation that we have shared on social media she spoke about banning Hamas in the UK and proscribing four extreme right-wing groups but extraordinarily stated: “Sikh separatist extremism has also caused considerable tensions in recent years.”
Over the last 12 weeks in local meetings with Conservative MPs, including several Ministers, Sikh representatives have patiently requested clarification of Priti Patel’s general reference to Sikhs and what specific events in recent years she had in mind when making her controversial and offensive reference to Sikhs.
Conservative MPs have embarrassingly been unable to provide any justification for her general reference to Sikhs that has caused huge offence, although the person writing her speech in the Home Office must have known the outrage this may cause to the Sikh community.
The open letter that has massive support not only asks for an apology, but that the Home Secretary should be sacked for her offensive comments and actions towards the Sikh community.
The open letter provides two specific examples where the Sikh community believe Priti Patel has demonstrated she is unfit to remain Home Secretary and is conflicted in her important role given her known connections and appreciation of the right wing BJP Indian government.
The first is the failed extradition in September 2021 of three innocent British born Sikhs to India. The case collapsed on the first morning in Westminster Magistrates Court. In December 2020 Priti Patel sanctioned the extradition the day after Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary at the time, returned from discussions with Ministers in Delhi. District Judge Michael Snow was highly critical of the dubious role played by Priti Patel. The three British Sikhs would have faced torture and the death penalty if they had been extradited to India.
The second is in relation to the wife of Jagtar Singh Johal. On 9 February Jagtar a British born Sikh who went to India to get married but was abducted and tortured by Indian police will be spending his 5th consecutive Birthday in an Indian jail although no evidence has been presented in court. Legal experts have concluded he is being held in arbitrary detention and the UK Government is duty bound by its own policies to secure his release and return to the UK to be with his family.
Priti Patel stands accused of blocking any efforts to get Jagtar back to the UK and open hostility towards the Sikh community. Last year she unashamedly had the audacity to try and deport Jagtar Singh Johal’s wife to India. Priti Patel however failed in her endeavour but exhibited serious misjudgement and bias against the Sikh community.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) that is spearheading the campaign against Priti Patel said:
“The PM often points to the diversity in his Cabinet however his actions and those of his Cabinet Ministers towards the Sikh community is how they will always be judged.” “Number 10 has made a pathetic attempt to defend the blunder of the PM and his Ministers for forgetting Gurpurb.”
“Priti Patel’s has since she became Home Secretary deliberately gone out of her way to target and smear the minority British Sikh community to appease her paymasters in Delhi. Her actions are deeply offensive and indefensible.”
“The PM has been unable to reign in and control Priti Patel who is conflicted by her connections with the right wing Indian government.”
“The open letter being sent to the PM has massive support and there is also a petition signed by 30,000 calling for the sacking of Priti Patel.”
ENDS Harnek Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)