UK expert: Britain should crack down on ‘pro-Khalistan extremism

Khalistan India

The problem that a very small group of people are using aggressive tactics to try and encourage Sikhs in the United Kingdom on their pro-Khalistan agenda needs to be addressed, the faith advisor of an independent review commissioned by the British government has said while noting that the government should crack down on the extremist fringe elements.

Colin Bloom, Independent Faith Advisor, told ANI in an interview that a tiny minority amongst the Sikh community in UK “are very aggressive, very loud and not representative of majority British-Sikh community”.

The landmark review by Colin Bloom into faith engagement has found the British government needs to recognise faith groups as a force for good.

Bloom considered how government can best celebrate the contribution of faith groups, while tackling harmful practices.

More than 21,000 people responded to the public consultation and Bloom made 22 recommendations for the British government.

“We are seeing a very small group of people using aggressive tactics to try and encourage all Sikhs to believe what they believe about whether it’s…Khalistan or other issues. And so I’m very pleased to say that in the last few years, the British government has been increasing its awareness of this problem and they’re beginning to tackle it. But my report is the first, I think, to really lay out in very clear terms, which is evidence-based, that this is a problem that needs to be addressed,” Bloom told ANI.

He said the government has no pain in looking closely at the challenge of Sikh extremism and pro-Khalistan extremism.

“The problem…with this is that there are overwhelming majority of the nicest, kindest and most decent people in the UK. And, a tiny minority amongst them are very aggressive, very loud and not representative of majority British-Sikh community.

Bloom also mentioned the organisations banned in the United Kingdom.

“Let’s not forget that there are still a number of Sikh extremist and terrorist organizations that are prescribed as terrorist organizations, whether that’s Babbar Khalsa…,” he said, noting that International Sikh Youth Federation was banned but has been “de-proscribed” in the UK.

He said membership of banned organisations is a criminal offence.

“So we need to make sure that the government is doing as much as they possibly can to crack down on these extremist fringe elements of what is otherwise an incredibly kind, generous and tolerant community.”

India has raised the issue of the security of Indian diplomatic establishments in the United Kingdom in the wake of action of some anti-India elements and has called for strong action by the UK Government.

Bloom hoped actions of such fringe elements do not damage bilateral ties between India and United Kingdom.

“I hope it doesn’t damage the relations between the UK and India. We have some of the strongest ties, a great deal of affection, and obviously, a shared history that goes back many hundreds of years,” Bloom said.

“I hope that continues, whether that’s with the British Hindu community, the British Sikh community, the British Muslim community, whoever it may be, we have to continue to build on those things that bind us together rather than would divide us,” he added.

Bloom said he considers it an enormous privilege that he lives in a country which is tolerant and free.

“We have the liberty to go and protest against whatever we don’t want. In fact, it’s the same in India. People can protest in India without fear of being arrested. But when that protest becomes violent, when that protest includes criminal damage, and when it involves coercing others to behave in a criminal way, that’s where it crosses the line,” Bloom told ANI.

“We have protests every day about something or the other. It’s just the nature of living in a free, democratic society, and I treasure that and I’m encouraged by that. But we have to draw the line when it becomes violent or when it becomes coercive or where there’s criminal damage involved,” he added.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a telephonic conversation earlier this month that UK considers the attack on Indian High Commission totally unacceptable and assured of security of the Indian Mission and its personnel.

The Indian community on March 19 held a large gathering in front of the Indian High Commission in London against the “disrespectful act” of Khalistan supporters towards the Indian flag and had sought strong action.

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