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UK Deputy PM listens & responds to Sikh concerns; Agrees to report on progress within 2 months

March 29, 2013 | By

London, England (March 29, 2013): The Sikh Federation (UK) organised and led a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes MP on March 26, 2013 to discuss a range of issues of concern.

Sikh organisations represented included the Sikh Federation (UK), Sikh Council UK, Sikh Women’s Alliance and Young Sikhs UK. The Sikh media represented included the Sikh Channel, Sangat TV and Akash Radio.

Others present at the meeting included former Liberal Democrat MP Paramjit Singh Gill, staff from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office in the Cabinet Office and other Liberal Democrat activists.

Nick Clegg with Sikh representatives at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurudwara Sahib, Leicester (UK) [File Photo]

At the start of the meeting it was suggested by the Sikh Federation (UK) that they were keen to explore where the Deputy Prime Minister could assist in facilitating progress or help set up meetings with other Ministers to take issues forward.

“The Deputy Prime Minister listened carefully to a selection of issues where it was suggested there was a need for the UK Government to work with grassroots Sikh organisations to make progress. A number of Departments were highlighted where there was either a need for a regular dialogue with Sikhs e.g. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office and others where less frequent meetings were necessary as issues arose e.g. Department for Culture, Media and Sports” reads a press statement issued by Gurjeet Singh, National Press secretary of Sikh Federation UK.

“Areas where there was a specific focus was human rights concerns, the denial of British nationality to law abiding Sikhs, the continued impact of banning Sikh organisations in the UK 12 years ago and the failure of Ofcom to understand Sikh community TV channels” it reads futher.

At the end of the meeting the Deputy Prime Minister listed the full range of issues that had been raised with him and was impressed how Sikh representatives had managed to raise so many issues in a relatively short meeting.

According to Sikh Federation UK: “It was agreed a series of short briefings relating to each area of concern would be provided by Sikh representatives by the end of the week and the Deputy Prime Minister’s office would take these up directly with relevant Ministers with outcomes expected by the end of May”.

“This was beyond what Sikhs were expecting. It was not just about opening doors for Sikh organisations to have a dialogue, but a promise by the Deputy Prime Minister to make progress and report back within two months”.

Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: ‘This was an important meeting for the UK Sikh community and we were impressed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s willingness to listen and agree to take a number of the matters forward within a realistic timescale.”

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