October 21, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK (October 21, 2013): According to information [t]housands of protesters from all around the country congregated at Hyde Park on Saturday 19th October 2013 calling on the Government to act immediately to provide protection to the victims of caste based discrimination in the UK. Three years after the Equality Act 2010 was passed in parliament, the Government has still not confirmed when the Act’s Caste Discrimination provisions will come into force.
The protest rally and march was organised by CasteWatchUK with the support of a coalition of over 60 organisations representing communities, religious faiths, human right groups, political parties & NGO’s. An unprecedented coalition of nationwide organisations and Human Rights campaigners came together to call on the Coalition Government to deliver without delay on the commitment it made in Parliament on 23rd April, 2013, to provide legal protection against Caste-based discrimination in the UK.
Some of the prominent leaders who came to support, show solidarity with the victims and speak in the peaceful protest were Dr David Earle (Universal Peace Federation), Ms Amrit Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group), Mr Mohammad Faiz (Lib-Dem campaigner-London), Mr Jagdeesh Singh (Sikh Human Rights Activist), Mr Sinna Mani (BOPIO) and numerous leaders from the victim groups from all over UK. All the speakers urged Government that Victims of Caste Based Discrimination deserve the same legal protection as those affected by discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion and disability etc. It is unacceptable that in modern Britain, why one section of the community should discriminate against another based on outdated ancient customs and traditions. Caste victims deserve immediate protection.
The march started from Hyde Park at 2 PM and protestors walked through the busy streets of Central London – walking through Park Lane, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square, White Hall finally arriving at 10. Downing Street. Demonstrators were seen waving placards bearing slogans such as “Down with Caste System”, “We want freedom- now”, “We want equality” many more slogans in Punjabi. Men, women, young, old, disabled and children – everyone was there to get the message across to the British Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron to think of the victims and not the perpetrators who are abusers of their basic human rights. Demonstrators stopped in front of Prime Minister’s residence and prominent Human Rights campaigners addressed the demonstrators expressing solidarity and support for fellow British citizens with strong calls for Mr David Cameron to re-consider Governments’s timetable for implementation of the legislation agreed in April 2013 to provide legal protection against Caste-based discrimination in the UK At this time, nominated representatives from CasteWatchUK – Mr Satpal Muman (Chair), Mr Davinder Prasad (General Secretary), Ms Anita Kaur (Vice Chair), Mr Baldev Mahay (Co-opted Vice Chair), Ms Saharan Jassi (Assistant Treasurer) and Mr Balbir Klair (Media Sponsor – Kanshi TV) – were allowed to go to 10, Downing Street and deliver over 25,000 signatures from petition and a memorandum on behalf of over sixty supporting organisations.
One of the Metropolitan Police Officers commented that of all the groups to assemble at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and challenge the Government directly, these people have been very easy to deal with as they were too quiet, too nice and well disciplined. It is the most extraordinary campaign we have ever witnessed, and the protesters have behaved in a truly exemplary manner, they marched through central London in a peaceful manner.
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