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MPs seek new category for Sikhs in UK census

Britain’s official statistician has been asked by more than 100 MPs to create a separate ethnic category for Sikhs in the 2021 Census.

world Updated: Sep 13, 2017 17:42 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Sikhs in UK,UK 2021 Census,Government Statistical Service
File photo of a Sikh gathering in London in 2014.(Reuters)

More than 100 MPs have written to Britain’s official statistician asking for a separate ethnic category for Sikhs in the 2021 Census so that an accurate estimate ofthe community’s strength can be used to guide and plan public services.

The MPs include Indian-origin lawmakers Virendra Sharma, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Preet Kaur Gill, Seema Malhotra and Keith Vaz.

The letter to John Pullinger, the UK national statistician and head of the Government Statistical Service, was organised by the Sikh Federation UK through the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs.

The Sikh body recalled that in 2002, an Early Day Motion on the subject was tabled in the House of Commons and received support from 174 MPs, including current Prime Minister Theresa May and former premier David Cameron.

The letter, released on Tuesday, states: “Sikhs are a legally recognised ethnic group and Sikhs have been protected under UK law following a House of Lords ruling in 1983.

“A number of issues faced by Sikhs ranging from thereporting of hate crimes through to accessing healthcare provisionsin the UK are not receiving appropriate attention by public bodies as they often only monitor ethnic group categories specified in the Census.

“The minority Sikh community has therefore been campaigning in the last two censuses for inclusion of a separate Sikh ethnic tick box for the compulsory ethnicity question.”

The letter states that in Census 2011, around 84,000 Sikhs objected to the existing ethnic group categories by using the write-in option and specifying “Sikh”.

A separate Sikh category in the forthcoming census will also provide a better estimate of the community in the UK, the letter adds.

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 19:12 IST