December 2, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London (2 December, 2016 – Press Release): When Theresa May became Prime Minister, Amber Rudd Home Secretary and Sajid Javid the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government the Sikh Federation (UK) wrote to all three about hate crimes directed towards the visible Sikh community.
For Sikhs this was not a new phenomenon following the Brexit vote, but something that raised its ugly head at the national and international level more than 15 years ago following 9/11, but has not been properly acknowledged by successive British governments.
The Sikh Federation (UK) was therefore dismayed when the Hate Crime Action Plan was issued several weeks later in July that appeared to have been written as though the estimated 750,000 British Sikh community did not exist.
The organisation wrote to Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid on 27 July 2016 who jointly issued the Hate Crime Action Plan about Sikhs being ignored and results emerging from the UK Sikh Survey on the scale of hate crime directed towards Sikhs. It has now been over four months since the letter, but neither have formally responded.
When Sikh Federation (UK) and Sikh Network representatives met Home Office and DCLG officials at the Sikh roundtable meeting at DCLG on 12 September chaired by Lord Bourne they were embarrassingly unable to respond to the specific issues raised. The Sikh Network formally published the findings from the UK Sikh Survey last Friday.
Earlier this week we noted the Home Secretary’s speech to the Jewish News BICOM policy conference and an associated article in the Daily Telegraph
In both the speech and the news item the Home Secretary stated:
“We take the security of the Jewish community seriously, and we will continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of this community – and all other communities too.”
The Sikh Federation (UK) has requested an urgent response to the letter dated 27 July 2016 and a specific written assurance from the Home Secretary that the government takes the security of the Sikh community equally seriously and what specific measures and funding for the larger, but more vulnerable visible Sikh community is being put in place to ensure the safety of the Sikh community.
The Sikh Federation (UK) has waited patiently for a considered response and now presented evidence from the UK Sikh Survey. Rt. Hon. Maria Miller, the Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee wrote to Amber Rudd and John Manzoni, the Chief Executive on 15 November regarding discrimination experienced by members of the Sikh community at the hands of police officers that must be impacting on the lack of hate crimes being reported.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“More than 30 years ago Sikhs were legally recognised by the Law lords, the highest court in the country, as a “race” and afforded protection. However, whilst individual Sikhs have been successful to prosecute in cases of direct and indirect discrimination the community as a whole has continued to suffer in silence.”
“The Prime Minister announced in late August that ‘race audits’ would be conducted within 12 months. Given the way the Home Office and others have dealt with hate crimes directed towards Sikhs we expect the Home Office to come up short and give new meaning to the term ‘institutional racism’.”
Earlier this week the Network of Sikh Organisations (Lord Singh) sent a letter to the Home Secretary on the same issue.