British MP Raises Questions Over Police Raids on Sikh Homes
The raids have generated widespread fears in the Sikh community.
Labor Party MP from Birmingham Edgbaston, Preet Kaur Gill has raised questions over the raids conducted by West Midlands Police last month on the homes of five Sikhs and has asked for a probe into why details of the raids were leaked to Indian media.
Counter-terrorism officers of the West Midlands Police had raided some houses in the United Kingdom on Sept. 18 as part of their investigation into allegations of “extremist activities” and fraud offences by some Sikhs in India. Although no one was arrested, Sikh activists raised concerns and alleged that the Indian government was behind the raids.
Gill, the first Sikh to be elected to the British Parliament, said that she has been told that Indian authorities had no role in these searches. In that case, why was the information regarding the five people, whose homes were raided by police, leaked to the Indian media, she asked. She also said there were many questions that were yet to be answered.
“We’re trying to establish the facts. We’re trying to establish why in the Indian media you have one story, while here the West Midlands Police have given out very little information but have actually stated to myself that these raids were not conducted as a result of India requesting this to take place. Now the information being put out in the public domain is quite contradictory,” broadcaster BBC quoted her as saying.
The details about the raids were published in Indian newspapers right after they happened raising speculation on whether India was involved in the raids. Gill backed what the raided Sikhs had been saying all along—that there is a link between the raids and the arrest of Jagtar Singh Johal.
Johal, from Dumbarton in Scotland, was arrested by Indian police in November last year under allegations of being involved in political violence in Punjab. He is lodged in an Indian jail with no charges framed yet, according to a report.
“The fear in the community, when I’ve spoken to many of the organizations, is that because there’s been no charge on Jagtar Singh Johal in India, are these raids to try and build some kind of evidence?” Gill said.
BBC also quoted a renowned Sikh-activist, whose home was raided then as saying that the raids were horrible and traumatized him and his family.