Sikhs and the London Race for Mayor

In response to this article in the UK Evening Standard CLICK HERE

Harmander Singh wrote:

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Sikhs In England, I write to express dismay concerning Mr Gilligan’s two articles on the Mayoral election in which he castes a inaccurate but speculative conjectures relating to the Sikh community which any reasonable person would find offensive.

Whilst it is recognised that newsmedia have a duty to explore and report any aspect of candidates standing for public office, it is also accepted that some candidates are supported or scrutinised more than others, however, to tarnish whole communities based on partial information is not what as Londoners we have come to expect from the Evening Standard.

Generic media phrases such as ‘The vast majority of the British Sikh community is peaceful and lawabiding’ often belie an underbelly of tainted scepticism of the writer and have the effect of marginalising the whole community no matter what niceties that follow – these same phrases have historically been used by the media when reporting on the Irish, Black and Muslim communities and have had a most unhelpful effect.

Given the articles are about the election in which a number of Right Wing candates are standing, I wonder whether Mr Gilligan would be minded to repeat these words in referring to the indigenous community – I certainly hope not as this would not be a fair reflection of Londoners as a whole.

For the record, the trial of the 1985 Air India downed flight proved less conclusive than Mr Gilligan suggests as there seem to be at least two conflicting theories. It is understood that the ‘BBC File on 4 investigation earlier this year unearthed current links between leading British-based Sikh militants and al-Qaeda’ assertion made by Mr Gilligan is also a subject of further scrutiny as to its accuracy.

It would seem that by writing that ‘Britain’s large Sikh community provided money,,,,,’ Mr Gilligan has ironically fell on his own sword of ‘sexing up’ an otherwise perfectly legitimate angle of investigative journalism. The damage done to the image of ‘The vast majority of the British Sikh community [which] is peaceful and lawabiding’ is immense and Mr Gilligan if not the Evening Standard may want to make a financial contribution to charitable causes as reparation equivalent to 10% of annual income – as Sikhs do as part of their faith’s teachings.

Harmander Singh
Principal Advisor to Sikhs In England


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Filed under Fighting Authoritarian Groups, Multicultural, Sikhi

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