News East West
LONDON: To appease the British Sikh community, particularly the hardliners, after it became known that Britain under Margaret Thatcher helped India in the 1984 army action at the Golden Temple, Prime Minister David Cameron says the Sikhs are a model community which has a “huge impact.’’
There are estimated to be about 500,000 Sikhs in Britain.
Speaking at the fourth Vaisakhi celebration at his residence 10 Downing Street, Cameron said, the Sikhs are “an absolute model in terms of integrating into our communities and playing a role in our communities; whether it is in our armed forces, whether it is serving in government, whether it is working in business, whether it is representing us brilliantly on the cricket field, there’s hardly an area of natural life where British Sikhs haven’t made a huge impact”.
Referring to Sikhs in politics, Cameron said, “I am proud that we have in Paul Uppal a British Sikh on Conservative benches. Paul is here working hard, but we shouldn’t rest until we see more British Sikhs on green benches and red benches, until we see more British Sikhs at the top of every one of our organisations – whether that is our army or our judiciary – not because we should believe in tokenism, but because we believe, I believe, that we won’t access the talent of our country unless we demonstrate that everyone from every background and faith can get to the top of any organization that they choose and that is so important for our country.”
With the general elections just a year away, the prime minister’s speech is aimed containing the alienation of the community from his Conservative Party after the revelation about Britain’s role under then Conservative Prime Minister in the 1984 army action at the Golden Temple.
Some Sikh organizations had called for the boycott of the prime minister’s Vaisakhi celebrations.