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UK News Anti-Sikh hate crimes reported across Britain rise by 70% in two years

05:15  05 december  2020
05:15  05 december  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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The number of anti-Sikh hate crimes reported across Britain has increased by 70% in the last two years, according to Home Office figures, prompting calls for "urgent action" to tackle the problem.

a person standing next to a vase of flowers on a table: Campaigners are calling for 'urgent action' to tackle anti-Sikh hate crimes © Sky News Screen Grab Campaigners are calling for 'urgent action' to tackle anti-Sikh hate crimes

Britain's first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill has told Sky News that the figures do not tell the whole story, as there is not a system in place monitoring hate crimes against Sikhs.

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a woman sitting at a table using a laptop: Britain's first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill © Getty Britain's first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill

"There are lots of concerns from the Sikh community that there is not enough being done to protect us. The community feels forgotten. There needs to be a definition, just like there is for antisemitism and Islamophobia, for anti-Sikh hate crimes," said Ms Gill.

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a man and a woman sitting on a bench: Dabinderjit Singh (r) and Ramneek Kaur have both suffered abuse © Sky News Screen Grab Dabinderjit Singh (r) and Ramneek Kaur have both suffered abuse

The shadow International secretary said she herself was the victim of a hate crime.

"Some of my experiences have been people referring to me with the P word, you know the abbreviated version for Pakistani, that's despite me being a Sikh.

"This has become so normal for so many, especially my generation who grew up in schools. It was actually the norm to be referred to in that manner."

Government figures show 117 hate crimes were recorded against Sikhs in 2017-18 compared to 202 in 2019-20.

In February 2019, Dabinderjit Singh was targeted by a man because of his long beard and turban.

"A man came up to me as I was about to cross the road, took a lighter, flicked the lighter and said various expletives and said I burn people like you," he said.

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After 25 years of decline, hate crime incidents rose in 2015. Numbers of race-motivated crimes have decreased, but attacks on Muslims and the LGBT The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, signed by President George H.W. Bush, required the US attorney general to report hate crimes annually.

Religious hate crimes have surged by 40% in England and Wales, according to new figures released by the UK government Tuesday. The report said hate crimes in all categories had increased but added that the rise is thought to be "largely driven by improvements in police recording."

"He then pointed to my beard and came about a metre closer, flicked the lighter again. I couldn't believe it."

a man wearing a hat: Turbans are an essential part of Sikh identity and are mandatory for men © Getty Turbans are an essential part of Sikh identity and are mandatory for men

Turbans are an essential part of Sikh identity and are mandatory for men.

Although Sikhs are a minority in Britain, they form the largest religious group of Indians.

When teacher Ramneek Kaur moved to the UK 16 years ago, she was abused in the street because of her appearance.

"I wear my Indian outfit quite a lot and I remember I was on a very prominent high street of London where I got targeted and I was told to go back home," she said.

"On another occasion I was at Victoria station and someone became very aggressive towards me, pointing at me because I looked different because of my outfit. I was quite shocked."

Mr Singh, a prominent campaigner, said Sikhs have long been subject to racial discrimination and threats of violence seems to have become mainstreamed.

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"This phenomena of attacking Sikhs is not new. 9/11 created a worldwide phenomenon. That image of a turban, a beard associated with 9/11 - I remember in London we had 50 attacks on Sikhs two or three days after the attack," he said.

Despite the current climate, both Mr Singh and Ms Kaur say they are optimistic for the future.

The Sikh Council UK has condemned the recent attack on a Sikh boy at a secondary school in Telford.

Its secretary general Gurpreet Singh Anand said it is vital for people to report hate crime.

"We are hearing a lot of concerns from the community - school children being bullied right up to elderly people getting attacked. We're getting a lot of our organisations reporting worrying incidents, but I am urging people who have been victims to come forward," he said.

A recent report, by the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, found the lack of an official term or definition was a contributing factor to why this type of crime goes largely "unnoticed, unreported and unrecorded".

It called for funding to help the reporting of hate crimes against Sikhs.

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This is interesting!