Despite Issues Raised in the Past, PM Modi Unlikely to Take Up Sikh Issues in UK Visit


The detailed strategy prepared and delivered by the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) on how the Sikh community should manage Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK (12-14 November 2015) deserves much closer examination.

Sikhs around the globe can learn from organisations like the Sikh Federation (UK) that not only provide the backbone and strength to the FSO, but also the backing of many Gurdwaras up and down the country.

The strategy itself was delivered and unanimously endorsed at Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall on Saturday 3 October and the first slide itself was a master act in how to undermine those we have been reading about who as individuals may be part of the welcoming party for Narendra Modi.

The first slide highlights on 29 April 2005 a UK-based Sikh businessman had the opportunity to hold a short meeting with Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in Delhi and share a memorandum drafted by Sikhs in the UK. People still have access to the briefing provided to the UK-based businessman in April 2005 and it was revealed on Saturday that this contained issues related to domestic matters and issues of concern relating to Sikhs outside of India where a Sikh Prime Minister could assist.

The domestic issues included:
– release of Sikh political prisoners
– lack of justice for the victims of anti-Sikh pogroms of November 1984
– need for the prosecution of police officers involved in human rights violations in Punjab
– Punjab related matters – river waters, inward investment and development, drug rehabilitation, heritage etc.
Sikh specific issues outside of India included:
– right to wear the Sikh turban in schools in France
– safeguarding the Sikh identity post 9/11
– separate monitoring of Sikhs in the UK to assist with fair provision of public services

The UK-businessman who raised these issues 10 years ago in 2005 with the Congress PM was none other than Gurmail Singh Malhi, the current President at Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall. Raising these domestic issues 10 years later with a BJP PM would be the least Gurmail Singh Malhi should do. At that time Punjabi newspapers carried photographs of the meeting he had with Manmohan Singh in Delhi. This revelation set the tone of the strategy presented by the FSO as many realised the situation with Narendra Modi was totally different.

The strategy posed the question Narendra Modi has not had Sikhs from the UK meet him in Delhi and raise issues with him face to face or hand him a memorandum, so why do some think he is wanting to meet Sikhs when he comes to the UK or come to a Gurdwara when Manmohan Singh never tried or succeeded doing this in October 2006, the last time any Indian PM came to the UK.

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