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NRI alleges racism in British army

The Colonel has filed a case against his senior, who described him as having 'ready smile and wit' of someone from the sub-continent?.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 12:56 IST
Vijay Dutt

A case filed by a retired Army Officer of Indian-origin alleging racial discrimination against him by senior colleagues who described him as having the 'ready smile and wit' of someone from the sub-continent could have far-reaching implications in the British army.

Lt. Col. Surinder Saggar, now 68, speaking at an employment tribunal about his treatment while posted in Cyprus said he was victimised by fellow officers because his 'face did not fit', although he had the experience of working during his 20 years career as a consultant anaesthetic in military in England, Northern Ireland, Germany Belize, Cyprus and the Gulf.

He felt racially discriminated against after reading a confidential appraisal of his competence in which he was described in a 'stereotypical, hurtful' way and not recommended for promotion.

The final straw was a report by his Group captain in which he was given 'good' and 'very good marks' for his skills at the hospital but it was said that he was normally a happy person 'with the ready smile and wit one has come to recognise in a person from the sub-continent'.

Lt Col. Saggar, who lives in north Yorkshire said the pen portrait not only disclosed his ethnic origins but provided stereotypical remarks and comments he found hurtful and racist.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 18:04 IST