UK Ministers are selling out British Sikh activists to appease the extreme right-wing leadership of India committed to a Hindu Rashtra

UK Ministers are selling out British Sikh activists to appease the extreme right-wing leadership of India committed to a Hindu Rashtra

London – 15 November 2023

The Indian Foreign Minister, Dr S Jaishankar has today concluded his 5-day trip to the UK. He met Rishi Sunak, James Cleverley, David Cameron, Grant Shapps and Lord Ahmad. This morning he met Tim Barrow, Rishi Sunak’s National Security Adviser and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy.

It has been reported in the Guardian Jaishankar has raised concerns about anti-India activities of British Sikh activists and protesters. In his meeting with the new Foreign Secretary, David Cameron he has pushed for information requested by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assist with their inquiries about Sikh protesters.

In recent weeks British Sikhs have been writing to their MPs to raise concerns about the illegal activities and threats of the NIA in the UK and extrajudicial killing of a Sikh leader in Canada calling for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland. In responses received from the FCDO Minister, Lord Ahmad who has responsibility for India states:

“The UK Government is … clear that all countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. It is important Canada’s investigation runs its course, with the perpetrators brought to justice.”

“Domestically, the UK Government continually assesses potential threats to individuals in the UK, and takes the protection of individuals’ rights, freedoms, and safety very seriously. Through our intelligence agencies and police forces, we use all tools at our disposal to combat threats to the UK.”

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on 18 September following intelligence from the US, corroborated by British intelligence with information from India stood up in the Canadian Parliament and accused the Indian authorities for the extrajudicial killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. In a speech last Friday Justin Trudeau repeated these allegations and went further to criticise India for its heavy-handed approach in unilaterally removing diplomatic immunity for over 40 Canadian diplomats.

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken told media last Friday in Delhi he had once again raised the need for the Indian Government to co-operate with the Canadian investigation with the Indian Foreign Minister, Dr S Jaishankar. The US President, Joe Biden raised the matter with Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit in Delhi.

Dabinderjit Singh, the Principal Adviser of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“Rishi Sunak despite being specifically briefed by Justin Trudeau showed he is weak and a light-weight leader by failing to raise the extrajudicial killing of the Canadian Sikh leader with Modi at his meeting at the G20 Summit.”

“Sunak’s desire to secure a trade deal with the right wing BJP Indian government has led Ministers this week to ignore British Sikh community’s concerns. “

“Sunak in his desperation in the last 12 months has created the myth of Pro-Khalistan Extremism (PKE) so Ministers can appease representatives of the Indian government in meetings and explain what they are doing to disrupt British Sikh activists.”

“Despite cross-party pressure and the 6th anniversary of the arbitrary detention of Jagtar Singh Johal we have had total silence this week from Rishi Sunak and his Ministers on calling for his immediate release and the targeting and threats against UK Sikh activists with the NIA issuing a ‘hit-list’.”

“The Canadian government will also be deeply concerned with the lack of any public statement by the UK Government during Jaishankar’s 5-day visit on the importance of sovereignty, the rule of law, the need to co-operate with the Canadian investigation and India breaching the Vienna Convention.”

In contrast Jaishankar in a speech in Westminster Hall in the presence of Lord Ahmad talking about “what has changed in India” chillingly said in one word “Modi”. He should have been reminded following the massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 Britain, the US and a number of European countries on the basis of the evidence and intelligence held Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat responsible for failing to stop the violence and imposed a de facto 10-year travel ban on him.

The UK Government led by the Conservatives unilaterally lifted the ban on Modi in 2012 to improve bilateral ties with India knowing Modi was gaining popularity and could become Indian Prime Minister. He became Indian PM in May 2014 and almost eight year to the day he made his first visit to the UK as Prime Minister.

During that trip it was widely reported Modi gave a dossier on Sikh activists to PM David Cameron. Indian media reported at that time that the dossier named Avtar Singh Khanda who mysteriously died at the age of 35 in a Birmingham hospital in June this year and three days before Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead in Canada.

But many Sikhs believe Jagtar Singh Johal may also have been mentioned in the dossier given the reference to Glasgow Gurdwara and that Britain is avoiding calling for his release as British intelligence has colluded with India in his abduction, torture and arbitrary detention. Number 10 has amazingly denied the existence of the dossier. An inquest and a public inquiry into the death of Avtar Singh Khanda may yet reveal the existence and contents of the dossier.

ENDS Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)

Go Back