The Sikh Federation urges Education Secretary to act on hate crimes targeting UK Sikh children

The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education asking about actions being taken by his department on hate crimes and bullying of Sikh school children due to their visible identity.

This follows an incident on 13 November involving a physical attack on a Sikh schoolboy in Telford that West Mercia Police is investigating as a hate crime. The extensive media coverage of this incident in the last 48 hours following the circulation of a video of the incident on social media has brought the issue of attacks on visible Sikh school children into focus.

The letter to Gavin Williamson states:

“We fear thousands of Sikh children regularly face such acts of physical violence and emotional trauma in the educational system that need to be fully investigated and addressed.”

Last month the Sikh Federation (UK) and the Sikh Network organised a virtual lobby on Anti-Sikh hate involving over 40 MPs.  The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs produced a report on Anti-Sikh hate and is waiting for a response from the Home Secretary and Communities Secretary.

The Sikh Federation (UK) has asked the Education Secretary to provide reassurances to Sikh community representatives and discuss what actions can be taken including raising awareness and understanding of the Sikh identity.

“Bullying and hate against any child is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Good schools develop an ethos to prevent bullying in the first place.  However, when incidents like this come to light those in positions of responsibility at the national and local level must investigate to establish the scale of the problem and respond.

The police have reported there has been a dangerous rise of right-wing extremism and the threat of hateful ideology linked to nationalism that must also be urgently addressed by the education system.

The release of the video on social media has highlighted the ever-increasing number of visible Sikh school children who face physical attacks.  This should not be happening in 2020, but we fear thousands of Sikh children face such attacks and intimidation who hide this from parents and teachers.”

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK)

The letter to the Education Secretary has been copied to Preet Kaur Gill MP, the Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs and Lucy Allan MP the Conservative MP for Telford and a member of the APPG who has issued a statement on the Telford incident.

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