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Sikh to be first non-white member of British National Party

india Updated: Feb 15, 2010 15:33 IST

A 78-year-old Sikh is set to become the first non-white member of British National Party (BNP), a media report said on Monday.

Rajinder Singh, an anti-Islamic activist, has been supporting the anti-immigrant far right party for about a decade, though being a non-white, he is barred from joining it, Daily Mail reported on its website on Monday.

Singh will soon be able to join BNP as a fully-fledged member after the party last weekend began the process of changing its constitution to not discriminate on the grounds of race or religion, the report said.

BNP spokesman John Walker said Singh would be the ideal first non-white candidate to join the party.

He said: "I suggested it myself - if we're going to do this (open up BNP membership to non-whites) then Rajinder Singh would be a good person to sign up."

"Mr Singh has been supportive of the party for years. He's here (in Britain) not to throw his weight around, he's here under our protection. He fully accepted our membership criteria.

Singh, who was born in Lahore in Pakistan and fled communal tensions to come to Britain in 1967, said he would be "honoured" to join the party.

The former teacher is openly anti-Muslim after his father was killed during the partition of India in 1947, the report said.

"I am a retired teacher, living a quiet life," he was quoted as saying by The Independent. "I got in touch with the BNP on certain core policies that appeal to me."

"I come from partitioned Punjab that saw a lot of bloodshed in 1947. Anyone escaping that genocide would pray to God, say never again and vote for BNP," he said.

The Daily Mail report says mainstream Sikh groups were appalled by Singh's involvement with the BNP.

It quotes Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, as saying: "Sikhs who are true to their faith will having nothing whatsoever to do with any party that favours any one section of the community."

In December 2001, Rajinder Singh and another Sikh from Slough called Ammo Singh announced plans to set up an Asian Friends of the BNP group for people sympathetic to the party's anti-Islamic stance, the report said.