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UK Govt. U-turn on Sikh regiment reflects the Xenophobia running through politics following the Brexit vote: Sikh Federation UK

October 5, 2016 | By

London: In February just before the General Election Mark Francois, the Armed Forces minister said in Parliament that Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Chief of the General Staff was examining proposals to create a Sikh regiment and the proposal ‘may well have merit’.

Speaking during defence questions, Conservative former defence minister Sir Nicholas Soames urged ministers to “do away with political correctness” and raise a Sikh regiment.

S. Amrik Singh GIll, Chairman of Sikh Federation UK [File Photo]

S. Amrik Singh GIll, Chairman of Sikh Federation UK [File Photo]

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “We welcomed the announcement in Parliament in February 2015. The U-turn yesterday by Sir Michael Fallon at a Conservative Party conference fringe event will disappoint many British Sikhs and Conservative Party supporters.”

 “The Defence Secretary on the one hand states Sikhs “make great soldiers” but we believe his announcement yesterday has more to do with the atmosphere of xenophobia in the political world following the Brexit vote or the racist culture in the armed forces.”

“He should face the British Sikh community and have the courage to explain his decision when Parliament returns.  We are convinced politicians on all sides will challenge him.  Where there is a will, there is always a way.”

“100 years ago tens of thousands of turban wearing Sikhs were good enough to die for the freedom of Europe.  It is shameful some politicians today refuse to recognise British law established exactly 50 years ago protects Sikhs and the law lords have ruled they are more than just a religion.”

“Is Sir Michael seriously suggesting it is wrong for any organisations to set up any groups with an emphasis on a particular religion or is he simply worried about racism in the armed forces?”

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