Respect Your Vote
A MESSAGE TO ALL BRITISH SIKHS
SIKH MANIFESTO - SHORT SUMMARY
Time to wake up and take our place and responsibilities as British citizens seriously. Let us make a start during these elections, please read on and look to make that difference for future generations.
Voting strategy and 50 target seats - Sikh Battlegrounds
The Sikh vote is crucial to all the main political parties on 7 May.
We will ensure Sikhs have the highest voter registration by the deadline. (the deadline has still to be announced)
We will also ensure Sikhs have the highest turnout on polling day and make use of postal votes or voting by proxy.
However, this time we have a campaign strategy and will have activists on the ground to influence non-Sikh voters in target seats through 'naming and shaming'in the local and national media.
Our strategy is to at least double our influence.
We have identified the 'Sikh battleground' in 50 target seats [constituencies] in order of priority where the Sikh vote really counts.
There are sufficient Sikh voters in around 80% of the 50 target seats to determine on their own who will be elected.
Sikhs have a long standing tradition of fighting for the core human values of truth, honest hard work, equality, respect for diversity and religious freedom. The Sikh Manifesto is tool for highlighting the challenges the community faces today. It gives direction for change to rekindle the miri-piri activist Sikhi spirit.
The Sikh Manifesto calls on the Sikh community and the wider public, including all the political parties to understand and find joint solutions to the issues and concerns raised, prior to the general election.
Sikh voters and our major Sikh institutions will use the Sikh Manifesto to critically examine the assurances given and the track record of individual candidates in the 50- target seats to ensure they are genuinely focused on reform and change.
However, the Sikh Manifesto has much more relevance as Sikhs live in virtually every constituency throughout the UK. The Sikh Manifesto, engagement with the party leaders, voting strategy and 50 target seats are a powerful vehicle to secure positive change for the British Sikh community and continued improvements in social and economic harmony.
Might be worth bookmarking if you're interested:
Sikhs have given so much, they deserve better
The 700,000 Sikhs in Britain are widely recognised as a role model community.
British Sikhs represent an exceptional example of successful integration whilst maintaining a very visible and distinctive religious identity.
Sikhs have made an immense contribution in all spheres of public life.
Sikhs have achieved this through honest hard work. They respect human diversity and all religions. They continue to promote equality and tolerance towards others through interfaith dialogue and non-discriminatory charitable work.
Sikhs have a proud military tradition, and over the last 200 years they have made a huge contribution as trustworthy allies.
They have answered the call in both world wars with an unprecedented number sacrificing their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today in Europe.
The journey however has not been without its challenges and struggles.When needed Sikhs have not been slow to assert their rights through peaceful protests, lobbying and, as a last resort, through legal action.
However, the sad reality is that government papers revealed under the 30-years rule show how the democratic rights of law-abiding British Sikh community have been systematically compromised by the British establishment in return for trade with India.
Today, although Sikhs have excelled in commerce, education and medicine, they have yet to feel inspired to fully interact with the UK political system. This is partly due to the in-built bias in the selection process against visible Sikh identity.
There is now greater awareness for the need to take up Sikh issues through lobbying and by participating in local and national politics.
Sikhs must be allowed to become part of the DNA of the British nation and become directly involved in the decision making processes that impact on their daily lives.
In the last decade the British Sikh community has been politically transformed to lead the Sikh Diaspora in professional lobbying on a comprehensive range of issues.
The Sikh Manifesto is unlike the manifestos of the political parties, but widely viewed as a crucial development reflecting the political maturity of British Sikhs.
It provides politicians, the media and the wider public with a better understanding of the Sikh contribution, as well as the challenges the Sikhs continue to face in areas where progress is required.
These challenges are due in part to our distinct religious needs and identity, but also historic wrongs that need to be put right.
The Sikh Manifesto empowers the British Sikh community to engage much more effectively with the UK political system.
All Sikhs and UK politicians can relate to and adopt most or all objectives set out in the Sikh Manifesto.
The Sikh Manifesto has been welcomed and endorsed by leading members of the Sikh community as well as all the major political party leaders.
The Sikh Manifesto contains 10 key points, these have been identified by the diverse UK Sikh community; The Outline Sikh Manifesto points are as follows:
1) MORE EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION IN PARLIAMENT 'There is only one MP & three Lords representing over 700,000 UK Sikhs' Sikhs have never been truly represented in the corridors of power within the UK, in fact the numbers have been worryingly decreasing. We call on all parties to proactively seek and nurture Sikh members and candidates to build stronger understanding as well as more diverse view to reflect our multicultural country.
2) SEPARATE ETHNIC MONITORING OF SIKHS 'Sikhs are part and parcel of British society and contribute positively time to record and count us appropriately'
Sikhs are the fifth largest religion in the world and the UK has over 700,000 Sikhs living here, however this number has never accurately been measured via the census. We have long called for the UK Census to officially record, analyse and report correct data on both the Sikh contributions and needs as equal members of our society
3) STATUTORY CODE OF PRACTICE ON THE 5ks AND SIKH TURBAN 'Prevent discrimination against Sikhs at work and in public spaces because of their distinct identity'
Sikhs are both an ethnic and a religious group so are protected from racial as well as religious discrimination. We are known for our unique identity, high moral standing and duty to defend the helpless whilst never refraining from righteous deeds. Our Kakars & Turbans are a constant reminder of our duty and therefore need to be understood and welcomed not feared
4) ACTION AGAINST PERPETRATORS OF GROOMING AND FORCED CONVERSIONS 'Grooming & forced conversions have been affecting the Sikh community for years, we need to address this now'
Following a number of serious distressing investigations and prosecutions across the UK for child sexual grooming, The Sikh community has spoken out and called for greater protections as we been a target of such crimes for many years and a combination of ignorance within the police and justice systems causing hesitation and fear to report has betrayed our young children for long enough.
In addition hiding such heinous crimes and perpetrator behind non-descript terms such as 'Asian' has just further hidden the real issue and made it easier to avoid identifying the culprits and criminals responsible
5) NETWORK OF STATE FUNDED SIKH ETHOS SCHOOLS
'We need 25 state funded Sikh schools by 2020' Sikh ethos schools should be encouraged as the ' support the nurturing of pupils' personally, socially and academically to achieve their potential through promoting high standards of behaviour, underpinned by a strong pastoral system. Education has been the foundation of the Sikh faith, as the literal translation of the word 'Sikh' is a learner for life. The Sikh Gurus expressed that the spiritual and secular life should coexist. Education is understood by Sikhs to raise aspirations and personal standards, encourage self-awareness and humility, and inspire all to seek a greater purpose in life.
6) MONUMENT IN LONDON TO HIGHLIGHT SIKH SACRIFICES IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR '83,000 Sikhs died during the World Wars, its only fitting a monument in London honours and remembers that sacrifice'
When the world was at war, twice the Sikhs answered the call of Britain and travelled over 5,000 miles to fight oppression and tyranny as our faith demanded. Over 83,000 Sikhs made the ultimate sacrifice with over 100,000 being injured during the two world wars. Sikhs soldiers received the highest gallantry awards and medals inc the most Victoria crosses in that time, however 100 years on from the great war it is only right for London the city Sikhs came to defend showcase a befitting monument in respect
7) PRESSURE ON FRANCE TO STOP DISCRIMINATION AGAINST TURBAN WEARING SIKHS 'The Sikh Turban was OK to die in for the freedom of France & Belgium but not OK to wear when attend schools or for ID purposes'
As we have highlighted earlier the Turban is of the upmost importance to every Sikh. To be asked to remove it to attend state education or formal identification is nothing less than public humiliation and extremely disrespectful. This has been recognised by the UN Human Rights Council who have instructed France to remove such discrimination 3 times, but to no avail. The international community and our Gov should openly and privately pressurise the French to embrace and respect the Sikh identity as it did during WW1 & WW2 and stop challenging it now.
8) INDEPENDENT PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO UK GOVERNMENT ACTIONS IN THE LEAD UP TO AND AFTER THE 1984 SIKH GENOCIDE
'The UK Government admitted complicity in operation Bluestar - how can it deny an independent public inquiry?'
9) UN-LED INQUIRY INTO THE 1984 SIKH GENOCIDE
'Even the Indian Government are now calling 1984 a Genocide, time for the UK & UN to follow' In January 2014 UK Sikhs were shocked to discover that our Government had conspired by provided advice and planning to the Indian Army for the bloody massacre and military attack on the Sikhs holiest shrine Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar in June 1984. British Sikhs as well as the wider public deserve to know the complete truth into what happened and what lead to our Gov even contemplating attacking the Sikh Vatican? Furthermore we must know as further revelations continue into how and why the gov treated its citizens with such discrimination and suspicion. It should also consider itself duty bound given the contribution and sacrifice of the Sikhs to establish the truth independent of Gov and also make necessary representations and questions at the United Nations so that the international community may ensure India recognize and redress this human tragedy & genocide appropriately to bring some long awaited closure and justice to the victims & survivors.
10) APPLICATION OF SELF DETERMINATION TO THE SIKHS
'Every individual has the right to determine their own future suppression is the crime not the demand'
Self-determination denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order. It is a core principle of and enshrined in International Law protected by the UN charter.
Although the decision on self-determination for Sikhs in India is one only for them to decide, they should be free to openly discuss and campaign as they see fit without the fear of harassment, arrest and torture as has been the case.
Furthermore any UK Sikh supporting their right should also be free to do so, without the worry of being labelled an extremist or outcasted by foreign opinions and views. Such discussion should be welcomed and debated on merits, as recently demonstrated by the Scottish independence vote.