The Sikh community in the United Kingdom has written to British Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to raise the issues of “extreme Hindutva agenda,” growth of “Hindu radicalization across the globe,” and “treatment meted out to religious minorities and Dalits in India” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit between April 16 and 20.
Earlier reports had said that Modi would be raising the issue of Sikh radicalism in the United Kingdom with May in the backdrop of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the country on April 18. The British PM was also asked to urge the Indian government to stop interfering with internal matters of the British and United Kingdom Sikhs.
The letter to May was written by the Sikh Federation with support of 200 gurdwaras in the United Kingdom. The Sikh Federation UK also said in a statement that the community is asking the Commonwealth countries to stop right-wing groups from turning India into a “Hindu State by 2021 run by upper class Hindus.”
Meanwhile, another Sikh group in India has written to Modi to present him with demands of the Sikh diaspora, the Times of India reported.
In their letter, the Delhi-based organization’s president Dr Pushpinder Singh Chopra and general secretary Partap Singh said that they wanted to share their concerns “over a series of recent news reports that have sought to undermine the image of the Sikh community in the diaspora.” The letter said that the reports, “attributed mostly to unnamed government sources, are increasingly profiling the Sikhs in India and abroad in very negative light.”
The Sikh diaspora’s coldness to India had grabbed headlines when many gurdwaras in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia banned Indian officials from entering their premises for “interfering” with their matters. This boycott was also fueled by imprisonment of a Scottish Sikh man named Jagtar Singh Johal in Punjab. India believes Johal is a Sikh radical responsible for masterminding assassination attempts on leaders of other faiths in Punjab, but calls have been made for his release in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom.
Moreover, India’s relations with Canada, which has a large Sikh community, also took a hit in February after a convicted Sikh extremist was found interacting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife and cabinet ministers.