The statement below by Amandeep Singh Bhogal is in response to a recent TV interview where Amandeep’s comments hurt Sikh sentiments in the UK. The interview was related to Indian intelligence reports of illegal activities inside Gurdwaras.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh||
Over the last few days, one of the media interviews I gave was partially uploaded on YouTube. It seems to have caused confusion and hurt sentiments for which I apologise wholeheartedly.
The Sikh community in the UK is one of the most law abiding, peaceful and prosperous communities and as I stated in my TV interaction, ‘IF’ parts of the intelligence briefing circulating in some sections of the media in India were true, only ‘THEN’ would it be a concern to both the countries. NO evidence has emerged within sections of the media in India to back such claims, it would seem that is nothing but media propaganda.
Let me be very clear, over the past many years I have visited various Gurdwaras across the country and have seen only brilliant preaching from our living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Seva of Langar and a cordial community spirit of selfless service to others. Nowhere have I seen any radicalisation or extremism amongst congregations. What I have seen is the legitimate raising of concerns of significance to the community.
Whether it is raising awareness about the long suffering campaign of Bapu Surat Singh Ji Khalsa or the appalling unacceptable desecration of our living Guru – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Punjab. It is absolutely within the rights of British Sikhs to raise such matters and it is certainly not radical or extreme to do so as such matters are a grave concern for all and is something on which I have stood up for on numerous occasions in Punjab based media.
As an 11-year-old, I was baptised with Amrit by Jathedar Bhai Sahib Bhai Hazura Singh Ji of Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded and have strived hard to practice my faith despite regular obstacles in society. Whether it was when, as the only Sikh pupil I was excluded from classes for not removing my Kirpan and Kara to being detained and disembarked at Dubai airport earlier this year for the same reason – I have always stood up for my Sikh faith. My children have been raised learning Gurbani and Kirtan so they chanted the name of Waheguru before they learnt English. I have campaigned for the setting up of a Sikh ethos “Free School” for ALL communities to have the opportunity to benefit from the universal values of Sikhi.
It was disappointing, that in a TV interaction, where I had stated that the known perpetrators of 1984 such as Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and others must be brought to justice urgently, was not available to viewers as I have long campaigned for justice for the monstrous events of 1984.
Whether it is by supporting Conservative led legislation to address the hardhat issue for Sikhs or the messages on Bandi Chhor Diwas by PM David Cameron, I will always support my Sikh faith.
The various Sikh Channels in the UK have become central to the community which has strived hard to fund them collectively. They are connecting Sikh voices around the world. I have been fortunate to do considerable work with both the Sikh Channel and Akaal Channel. Appearing regularly on Dr Savi’s Media Watch and also a multi-episode series on Youth participation in British politics. Further, I was delighted to see our Prime Minister David Cameron personally congratulate the Sikh Channel last year at the Vaisakhi celebration at No.10 Downing Street for completion of 5 years of broadcasting.
We all want to see a peaceful and prosperous Punjab. We must all continue to work in the name of Waheguru to drive forward engagement, dialogue and discussion so we can have truth and justice for matters of concern to Sikhs – both past and present.
Amandeep Singh Bhogal