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  1. New Sikh free school opens its doors in Coventry Sep 15, 2014 12:06 By Lucy Lynch Deputy head: 'The Seva School ethos is that every child can and will achieve.' Members of the Sikh community who felt let down by Coventry schools when they were children have set up their own school to try to do better. The new Seva School has begun with 130 four to seven-year-old pupils, with plans to increase to 1,450 four to 16-year-olds over the next five years. The newly opened free school is temporarily housed in a former special school in Tiverton Road, Wyken , ahead of a move to a permanent home on a site yet to be announced. Deputy head Suneta Bagri said: The trustees are born and bred in Foleshill in Coventry and want to give something back to the community. They left school with low aspirations in life. They achieved anyway and become professionals but they want better for the next generation of children. The Seva School ethos is that every child can and will achieve. Head Devinder Riat said: We are not full yet but numbers are increasing as word is getting out. Parents are being given an alternative which is a very exciting time. The school is using a maths curriculum based on schools in Singapore, where pupils are regularly ahead of those in other countries. Like many primary schools in Coventry the school is following the International Primary Curriculum, and teachers are using Kagan strategies, a method where pupils work closely together in groups and help each other. The school day begins at 8.30am and finishes at 4.15pm. The last hour of the day is spent in assembly, doing homework under supervision and after school sport and art clubs. There are future plans for extra classes at the weekend as well. Pupils wear a smart uniform of striped tie, navy cardigan with school badge, white shirt and grey trousers. Girls are not allowed to wear skirts for fear skirts wont keep their underwear covered while sitting on the floor. Pupils all arrive by bus to prevent congestion in Tiverton Road . Most are Sikh with a handful from other faiths. Each day there is a religious assembly mid afternoon when children are invited to join in prayer and reflection. At intervals through the day Sikh religious music is played through loud speakers in the corridors. The Seva School is one of three newly opened schools in the city, alongside free school the Muslim Eden Girls School, in Foleshill, and University Technical College the WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Mitchell Avenue, Canley. Source - http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/new-sikh-free-school-opens-7773146
  2. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh The Sikh Federation (UK) will be holding its annual Convention on Sunday 21st September 2014 at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton. It will be the last annual Convention before the General Election next year and we aim to raise a number of significant issues related to the Sikh community. The Sikh Federation (UK) is now officially recognised by the UK Government as one of the four main umbrella Sikh organisations in the UK. However, it is the only umbrella Sikh organisation that has remained true to its founding principles established 30 years ago in 1984 and has the stated aim of arguing the case for the Sikhs right to self-determination and lobbying for the establishment of an independent sovereign Sikh State. Mainstream media coverage of Sikh Federation (UK) campaigning this year has been unprecedented and combined with the unrivaled grassroots support provided by the Sikh community many in positions of responsibility in the UK and in other countries acknowledge and understand the increasing influence of the Sikh Federation (UK) in a diverse range of subjects. 2014 has been a remarkable year that started with revelations about UK Government direct involvement in the Sikh Genocide in June 1984. The Sikh Federation (UK) has led the way in challenging the current UK Government, taking the issue of the 1984 Sikh Genocide to the European Parliament and the United Nations and will be announcing the next steps in the campaign for Truth, Justice and Freedom. The mainstream media is expected to cover the Convention and several key announcements will be made. This will include plans to encourage much wider participation by youngsters and professionals from the Sikh community in activities led by the Sikh Federation (UK) that could be a defining moment for the political awakening of future generations of the Sikh community. The poster for the event is attached and on the Sikh Federation (UK) Facebook page. We encourage you to ensure A3 colour copies of this poster are displayed on noticeboards at your local Gurdwara and A4 colour or black and white versions are distributed to the Sangat. Please free to share this message with others. We would be delighted if you could attend and be part of what promises to be a historic event. Thank you for your continued support. Bhai Amrik Singh SIKH FEDERATION (UK) Never flinch from performing rightous deeds www.sikhfeduk.com | facebook/sikhfederation uk | twitter@sikhfeduk SFUK Convention 2014 Final.pdf
  3. Sikhs petition against double yellow lines outside Barking Gurdwara http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/sikhs_petition_against_double_yellow_lines_outside_barking_gurdwara_1_3713924
  4. Haryana announces separate Sikh panel for its Gurdwaras IANS | Chandigarh July 6, 2014 Last Updated at 16:18 IST Bowing to the demand of Sikh leadership from the state, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Sunday announced that a separate Sikh body would be set up to run the affairs of gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana. The announcement, which was being speculated on for the past few days, was formally made by Hooda at a Sikh conference in Haryana's Kaithal town, 140 km from here, Sunday. It was greeted by a thunderous applause by the gathering. The move was strongly opposed by the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which currently controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, which dominates the SGPC, also opposed the Haryana move and had even sought the Centre's intervention in the matter. The Haryana government is likely to bring a legislation in the forthcoming assembly session next week to enable the creation of a new Sikh body to manage gurdwaras and Sikh affairs in Haryana. Once the new law is passed, nearly 72 gurdwaras in Haryana will go out of the control of the SGPC. Source - http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/haryana-announces-separate-sikh-panel-for-its-gurdwaras-114070600395_1.html
  5. World Bank to promote Punjab tourism IANS | Chandigarh July 15, 2014 Last Updated at 17:00 IST To project Punjab as a global tourist destination, the World Bank Tuesday offered to fund projects for promotion of religious, heritage, health and ethnic tourism in the state. A team of senior World Bank (WB) officials met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here Tuesday and asked the Punjab government to work out the modalities in this regard. The four-member team was led by its Country Director Onno Ruhl. Ruhl said that the WB had already made similar offers to Pakistan's Punjab state to develop its tourism and Indian Punjab was being invited to promote tourism as both the eastern and western Punjab shared a common cultural affinity and glorious cultural heritage. Punjab has been asked to send a detailed proposal of different tourism projects to be developed through financial assistance from the WB. Punjab gets a large number of visitors, especially devotees, annually due to its famous Sikh shrines and other heritage structures. The holiest Sikh shrine, 'Harmandar Sahib' (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar attracts millions of people every year. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/world-bank-to-promote-punjab-tourism-114071500803_1.html
  6. PLANS for another city free school in Derby have been given the go-ahead by the Government. The Akaal Primary School is one of 38 new free schools to be announced and is set to open in September 2015. Originally, the school was going to be a Sikh academy set up by members of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Princes Street, Derby but it now being run by an independent group with the support of all gurdwaras in the city. After taking advice from the New Schools Network, it was decided to alter the plan to make the proposed school more inclusive, catering especially for migrant children from Eastern European countries, as well as Sikhs, and anyone else who wished to attend. Dr Daljit Singh Virk,chair of the Akaal Education Trust, said: The proposed school will aim to be outstanding academically and aim to develop pupils morally, socially, spiritually, physically and mentally." Work will now begin to identify suitable premises or a site for the new school in conjunction with Derby City Council. Derby has two other free schools - Al-Madinah School, which received a damning inspecton report within 12 months of opening and Derby Pride Academy, which recently was given an "outstanding" report by Ofsted. Read more: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/free-school-given-ahead-Derby/story-21263440-detail/story.html#ixzz35Gd3ayCn
  7. I wanted to let everyone know that the funding campaign for The 1984 Project has officially launched on Kickstarter. Please check it out, contribute, and share. Thanks in advance for any help! If you know of any survivors of the atrocities of the November 1984 killings that would be willing to speak to me while I'm in India, please let me know. My list is growing and I want to interview as many people as possible for this project. If you know of any rescuers of Sikhs, I would also appreciate their stories. The 1984 Project: Contribute Here
  8. Sikh community group launching mental health scheme after increase in sufferers seeking help Beth Wyatt, Reporter Thursday, June 5, 2014 9:34 AM A community organisation is launching a mental health scheme due to a rise in sufferers seeking its help. The Sikh Community Care Project is raising money for workshop sessions, which will support affected people and their families. Jasbir Sanger, the groups project manager, said: More and more people are coming in with depression and a lot of [other] mental health conditions and stress-related conditions. The numbers have risen over the past two years and are getting higher and higher. More people are at least acknowledging it. But the organisation, based in Argyle Road, Ilford, has also been visited by people whose families will not accept that they have mental health conditions. One such visitor was a young woman with bipolar disorder, whose family did not want to acknowledge her illness. Mrs Sanger said: They got her married and now it is affecting her married life, because the family dont understand what is wrong with her. That is why we thought it was important to do this now; we are trying to get people to understand that support is out there so [they] dont let it get worse. As well as attending the workshops, people will be able to visit outside them to receive support. The organisation, which began in 1992, primarily supports elderly and disabled people, women and young people. It provides help in areas such as health and crime and organises a range of projects and self-help programmes. The group is hosting a charity dinner and dance tomorrow to kick off fundraising for the project. It will take place at the City Pavilion in Collier Row Road, Romford, from 7pm to 12am. For more information on the Sikh Community Care Project or its new scheme, email Mrs Sanger on sccpredbridge@yahoo.co.uk or call 020 8554 3377. Source - http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/sikh_community_group_launching_mental_health_scheme_after_increase_in_sufferers_seeking_help_1_3629763
  9. Sikh female taxi driver in Glasgow MUM-OF-FIVE, who loves her punters' banter, is helping break down barriers and social stereotypes.WHEN passengers hop in to Balwinder Singh's taxi, they are pleasantly surprised - if a bit shocked - to see her smiling back at them from the driver's seat.This is because the mother of five is the only female Asian taxi driver in the city of Glasgow.Every time Balwinder gets behind the wheel, she is helping to break down barriers and turn stereotypes on their head.And she is particularly proud of her job because her beloved dad Kuldeep Singh - known as John - was the city's first Asian Hackney driver four decades ago.Proud Scot Balwinder, who has a brother and sister, told Record Woman: "Now it is my turn to follow in his footsteps and I feel proud and a bit overwhelmed. My dad came from India when he was two and then moved to Ireland."He spoke Gaelic and worked in the potato fields."Then he came back to Glasgow when he was about 10 and stayed in Pollokshields, where I grew up."My mum Raj was living in Leeds and came to Glasgow in her 20s and married my dad."Dad worked on the buses as a driver. I remember he cut his hair to do that job because back then they wouldn't let Sikh men drive with their turban on."Then he became the first Asian black cab driver in Glasgow."We used to clean his taxi when we were kids. My sister and I got 10p for doing it and my brother got 50p - because he was a boy."He used to pick us up at secondary school and we would brag to our pals that we were getting a taxi home. But we never said the driver was our dad. I grew up in a Hackney because of my dad."Family and tradition are very important to 46-year-old Balwinder, who lost both her parents eight years ago.She is known to friends as Paula and she still wears a necklace with that name on it, which her mother made for her 30th birthday.Making the decision to break with tradition and drive a taxi when her husband of 28 years, Raj, took ill was a tough one.Raj, 48, was driving for city-based Network Private Hire when he suffered a health setback - and it was him who encouraged Balwinder to get her taxi licence and start with the firm.Balwinder, who doesn't work past 9pm, said: "When we got married, Raj was a head chef, then a bus driver for 12 years."Then he joined Network but he had to give it up because of a health issue."Now he is my navigator and hotline number. He has always respected me and supported me and he told me to apply for my badge."He told me it would be safe and I would be picking up mostly women - grannies and mums with children."Raj threw me in at the deep end and, at the start, I was nervous and scared about picking up passengers."They would get in and say, Sauchiehall Street'."I would know where it was but not how to get to it - but the passengers were great about it."She started getting her first hires back in November 2012 and is now totally at ease behind the wheel, enjoying the punters' banter."I love being Scottish and I love Glasgow. Passengers say they can talk to me and get a positive vibe from me."A guy said to me once, Is your man in bed and he sent you out to drive his taxi?' - I just laughed."The girls tell me that they feel comfortable, safe and relaxed in my taxi and the older ladies want to adopt me."They tell me not to work late at night because they'll worry about me."Other Asian women who get in say they are impressed that I drive a taxi. They are pleasantly surprised because I am married."The reaction is positive and this makes me keen to do the job and do it better."I feel I am breaking down barriers and boundaries. And my children are proud of what I do. Source - http://www.punjaboutlook.com/3412-sikh-female-taxi-driver-in-glasgow.html
  10. A second Sikh temple faces opposition in Sacramento County By Brad Branan bbranan@sacbee.com Published: Sunday, May. 25, 2014 - 10:25 pm A second proposed Indian temple is facing community opposition in unincorporated Sacramento County, and questions of racism are again part of the debate. Sri Guru Ravidass Temple wants to replace its existing Sikh prayer hall with a 12,000-square-foot building with gold domes in a rural neighborhood near Dry Creek Road and G Street in Rio Linda. Neighbors have twice shown up before a community planning board to oppose the project, citing concerns about drainage and parking, among other things. The Community Planning Advisory Council is scheduled to hear the proposal for a third time at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Rio Linda Depot Visitors Center. The council will make a recommendation on the project, with the final decision coming from the county Planning Commission or zoning official. Opposition in Rio Linda comes only a month after residents near Galt persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject construction of another Indian temple, Mishra Gathering Place. Temple supporters in both communities question whether race has played a role in the opposition, especially since other churches have had relatively few problems getting projects approved in the county. Project opponents and county officials deny claims of racism in Rio Linda or the Galt area. County officials say the complaints raised by project opponents are not unusual when development is proposed in rural areas. Ramesh Banger of Antelope said he has wondered about opponents motives since applying for county approval of the Rio Linda temple in 2011. He said he has repeatedly met the county requirements, only to be told of new ones. When someone keeps complaining without reason, then you might guess that racism is the reason, Banger said. Charlea Moore, a member of the Community Planning Advisory Council, said neighbors have legitimate concerns about the project, but she said she thinks they can be resolved. Residents raised complaints about how the temple would use properties adjacent to the prayer hall, so the council asked project supporters to return with a plan for all their land. The temple complied. At a subsequent meeting, neighbors complained about drainage on the temple property, because flooding is a perennial concern in Rio Linda, Moore said. They also asked how parking would be handled. The projects supporters have since addressed those concerns with plans for a detention pond and shuttle bus service when large events are scheduled, said Tricia Stevens, principal planner for the county. Neighbors in Rio Linda dont appear to be as opposed to the temple as those near Galt were, Stevens said. Rio Linda residents seem focused on fixing the project, instead of outright opposing it, as was the case near Galt, she said. The Community Planning Advisory Council responsible for the area near Galt recommended denial of Mishra Gathering Place. The Planning Commission, however, unanimously approved the project, only to have the advisory council appeal the project to the Board of Supervisors. The board held a contentious hearing lasting more than five hours before rejecting the project, calling a compromise plan fashioned by the Planning Commission unworkable. During the meeting, about 120 Indian and Fijian backers of the temple sat on one side of the chambers, and about 40 white opponents sat on the other side. Supporters repeatedly accused opponents of racism; opponents said the temple was loud and clashed with the rural environment. In the last 15 years, churches have occasionally faced neighborhood opposition when proposing expansions, according to records on the county planning division website. But of the 22 projects receiving a final decision, only two have been rejected Mishra Gathering Place and Missionary Gospel Church. Like the Indian temple, Missionary Gospel Church faced opposition to its planned expansion in Rio Linda. The Community Planning Advisory Council, citing problems that would come from large church events, recommended denial, and the Board of Supervisors supported that decision when the church appealed. Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/25/6432214/a-second-sikh-temple-faces-opposition.html#storylink=cpy
  11. WSO Condemns Racist Flyers Targeting Brampton Sikhs Brampton (April 24, 2014): The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns racist flyers distributed by the group Immigration Watch Canada targeting the Sikh community in Brampton. The flyer titled The Changing Face of Brampton laments the decreasing proportion of Mainstream Canadians in Brampton and contrasts an older picture of a largely Caucasian group with a recent picture of a group of Sikh men and women. Brampton is home to a large Sikh population. According to the 2011 Census results, approximately 19 per cent of the Brampton population reported their religion as Sikh. WSO Ontario President and Brampton resident, Prabhmeet Singh Sarkaria said, these flyers are the work of an isolated fringe group and dont reflect the view of the vast majority of Bramptonians or Canadians. Canada is an example of how diversity and multiculturalism can work so beautifully. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand together and say that this type of message is not welcome in Canada. The flyers come at a time when Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi or the foundation of the Order of the Khalsa in 1699. The Province of Ontario and also the City of Brampton have both declared the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month. WSO President Dr. Amritpal Singh Shergill said, the flyers are an example of ignorance and fear-mongering. Despite Immigration Watch Canadas claims, Sikhs are proudly mainstream Canadians. We have been in Canada for well over 100 years and Sikhs are an integral part of their communities in Brampton and across Canada. We are Canadians. Period. The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status. Source - http://worldsikh.ca/news-release/wso-condemns-racist-flyers-targeting-brampton-sikhs
  12. World Sikh Organization of Canada Partners with KarmaGrow to Build One Acre Community Farm By PARMJIT SINGH Published: April 22, 2014 Brampton, Canada (April 22, 2014): The World Sikh Organization of Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a fresh initiative in partnership with KarmaGrow. KarmaGrow is working to alleviate food insecurity by building and maintaining community gardens and farms in order to provide food banks with a sustainable source of fresh produce. As per information the WSO is working alongside Sikhs Serving Canada (SSC), Khoobsurat Klothing, GG Fabrication, Region of Peel, Ecosource, Good Food Brampton, Knights Table and the KarmaGrow team in order to build a one acre community farm in Caledon East. Jaskaran Singh Sandhu, KarmaGrows Co-Founder and a WSO Board member, started with a simple idea. Food banks are often short of fresh vegetables, land is often underutilized, people are always looking for ways to give back KarmaGrow is here to bring all these elements together in order to Harvest Good. At every point in the foundation and building process I have been amazed at the communitys willingness and capacity to help. All of our partners have jumped at the opportunity to assist in any way possible. A perfect example of that is the WSO. The WSO was our first partner, and helped to secure the farm land we will be using for our pilot project. We are thrilled to be building a one acre vegetable farm with 100% community driven support. The WSO has excelled as a legal and human rights advocacy organization for a very long time. said Gursharn Kaur Gill, a Board member with the WSO. However, with the new youth orientated Board of Directors, we wanted to go back to our roots and reconnect with the public on the ground level. The community farm project is the result of that desire to serve for the well-being of all people. We are excited to be working with our friends at KarmaGrow to grow an acres worth of vegetables, and we look forward to a terrific pilot year. Work on the community farm will begin this spring. Source - http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2014/04/22/world-sikh-organization-of-canada-partners-with-karmagrow-to-build-one-acre-community-farm/
  13. Six Sikh girls' schools closed down in Ajmer Kshitiz Gaur,TNN | Apr 20, 2014, 02.35 AM IST AJMER: Six private schools in the city which were started sixty years ago for Sikh minority girls are now closed down. These schools provided merits to Ajmer for long twenty years. The school was bliss for poor families who wanted to provide qualitative education to their daughters. The reason- state government appointed administrator in these schools in 2006 and condition at present of these schools went worse than government schools. The state government made promises for qualitative education to girl child but there is no certain policies for those schools which are closing down by the interference of education department, "We are again demanding from state government to hand over these schools to us as we made them best for long sixty years" said Charan Jeet Singh Obrai, secretary of Shri Gurunanak educational society. There was a time when schools of this society were in demand because of real nominal fees and qualitative education with secure atmosphere for girls. The society started these schools Shri Guru Nanak Balika senior secondary school Hathibhata, Shri Guru Nanak Kanya secondary school Hathibhata, Shri Gurunanak primary school Nagra, Shri Guru Nanak public school Vaishali Nagar, Shri Guru Nanak Secondary School Vaishali Nagar, Shri Guru Nanak Bal Nari Hathi Bhata and Shri Guru Nanak Public school (Hindi medium). There were about ten thousand students who were getting education in these schools At present only Shri Guru Nanak secondary schoom in Vaishali Nagar is working with the strength of only 250 grils which was 16 hundred in 2006. "There was a time when mostly lower income and even medium income families tried hard to to get admission in these schools because of their results" said Mohan Lal Kumawat of Agara gate. These schools flourished at the time when missionary schools were costly and government schools were struggling to get passing percentage, "My daughter studied in this school and got first class in board exams when we left hope that she will continue her studies" said Rajendra Singh Rathore of Shastri Nagar. As the dispute in the society erupted in 2006 and allegation were made on each other, the matter went to the education department which recommended the matter to state government. The state government deputed administrator till the new elections of the society, "But elections never held in last eight years and it result that not only six schools are closed completely but senior secondary school of Vaishali Nagar is going to close down. The problem with state government is that to maintain the school in its form, "When the school was working well, we provide uniform to best five girls of the school as award" said a readymade merchant of the city. Looking to the quality of these schools, even industrialists and businessmen came forward to construct extra class rooms and infrastructure to the society. But now people who remembered thse Gurunanak society schools are turning to other schools as they have no teachers, no proper class rooms and no education, "We have written to Vasundhra government in the interest of girls students to conduct election of the society and hand over these schools back to them so that they can again retain the prestige of the past" added Obrai. He added that there was a time when these schools provided education even free of cost to poor children. "We are hoping that chief minister Vasundhra Raje will do something in this matter" further said Obrai. Meanwhile education department has not yet decided about these schools and said that they will follow the orders of the state government, "Our duty is to report o government and follow the instruction. The government deputed administrator on these schools of our officials" said Suresh Chand Sharma district secondary education officer Source - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Jaipur/Six-Sikh-girls-schools-closed-down-in-Ajmer/articleshow/33973572.cms
  14. http://www.sikhnn.com/headlines/2689/american-who-lived-bhindranwale
  15. Erindale Church sign greets Punjabis Mississauga News By Nouman Khalil MISSISSAUGA - As Mississaugans are getting ready for the Easter this coming weekend, Erindale United Church also greeted those who are celebrating Baisakhi the annual spring festival of Punjabis, mainly Sikhs. Earlier this week the churchs main signboard on Dundas St., just east of Mississauga Rd., reads Happy Baisakhi to our Sikh friends. Were getting ready to celebrate Easter, but at the same time also would like to wish our Sikh community members a Happy Baisakhi, said Neil R. Young, Minister of Erindale United Church. Its a sign of greeting for those who are celebrating Baisakhi. Soon after appearing on Tweeter and Facebook, the sign got hundreds of followers in and outside Mississauga. Young said one of the great things in Mississauga is that there is tremendous amount of friendship and cooperation between different interfaith groups, which is a real blessing for the whole community. To me, it wasnt unusual to put up a greeting sign of a faith group who are celebrating an event because we all support each other. I think we should also wear each others symbols, said Young. Baisakhi is a day of great significance for Sikhs as on this occasion Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs, laid down the foundation of Khalsa the Order of the Pure Ones in 1699. Source - http://www.bramptonguardian.com/community-story/4470486-erindale-church-sign-greets-punjabis/
  16. Redbridge Sikhs offer amazing response to cancer appeal Harry Kemble and Sunhail Patel , Reporter Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:21 AM Two Sikh congregations have showed a united front by registering 500 donors and raising thousands of pounds to increase bone marrow donors in the borough last week. The chance of finding a matching donor within the British Asian community is far smaller than if you were from a Caucasian background, due to lower population figures. The two Sikh temples in Redbridge - Gurdwara Karamsar in High Road, Ilford, and Gurdwara Singh Sabha in High Road, Seven Kings, held an event, on behalf of Delete Blood Cancer, to register blood donors and raise money for the cause. Mankamal Singh, a committee member at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, said: I was definitely amazed by the response but the temple was busy because it was the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. The mind set of the festival is to help people. Harpreet Lall attended the two-day festival on the Monday. Her six-year-old son Milan Singh Lall was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in January after being in remission for three years. Aged just three Milan was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Mrs Lall, a teacher assistant from Gidea Park, Romford, has had to leave her job to care for her son. She said: There are not many donors amongst Asians as a whole - I think there is only 3 per cent in the whole world on the national and international register. But Mrs Lall, whose family helped drive the cancer awareness campaign, is still trying to find a confirmed donor for her son. She added: We do not know if one of those 700 donors will help us in the future. Mrs Lall admitted she was very surprised £7,000 was donated to Delete Blood Cancer. We had people coming into the temple and pulling up their sleeves and saying where do we give blood. If anyone still wants to register as a potential donor to help someone with Leukaemia, they can do so by visiting deletebloodcancer.org.uk Source -http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/news/redbridge_sikhs_offer_amazing_response_to_cancer_appeal_1_3562940
  17. Sikh radio station back on the air By Leicester Mercury | Posted: April 16, 2014 A community radio station has been granted permission to broadcast until April 27. Vaisakhi Radio features children's programmes, sports, discussions of issues affecting the Sikh community, folk songs and interviews. It also broadcasts seven hours of live programmes every day from Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, in East Park Road, Leicester, and Sri Guru Har Krishan Gurdwara, in Kenilworth Drive, Oadby. Vaisakhi Radio has been broadcasting for 20 years, on 95.1FM, run by volunteers. It also collects money for charities such as Loros, Cancer Research UK, Educate Punjab, Bhai Dharam Singh Charitable Trust and Basics to Sikhi. In the past three years, it has raised and distributed £30,000 for local and national charities. For further information, contact Gurbinder Singh Samra on 07506 342604. Source - http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Sikh-radio-station-air/story-20963424-detail/story.html#ixzz2zFRnBKPf
  18. Sikhs can wear kirpans at Canadian missions By Nouman Khalil BRAMPTON On the special occasion of Vaisakhi, the Canadian government Monday announced the implementation of a policy accommodating the wearing of kirpan a ceremonial sword or dagger in Canadian diplomatic missions around the world. Under the new policy, Sikh visitors to Canadian diplomatic missions will be permitted to wear kirpans provided they are secured within a sheath, attached to a fabric belt, and worn under clothing across the torso. The individual should also be in possession of the four other Sikh articles of faith. Minister of State Tim Uppal made the announcement at a ceremony at Brampton's Khalsa Community School to mark the birth of the Khalsa the Order of the Pure Ones, introduced by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs in 1699. Canadas diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and freedom of religion is a fundamental Canadian value, said Uppal, who was making the announcement on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Our governments new kirpan policy will serve as an example and promote Canadian values around the world. The strategy follows recent accommodation policies for the kirpan in courthouses in Toronto, Alberta and British Columbia. World Sikh Organisation (WSO) works with the government to craft such policies. The accommodation of the kirpan at Canadian diplomatic missions around the world is a deeply significant move that shows that the Government of Canada understands and respects the significance of the kirpan to Sikhs, said Amritpal Singh Shergill, president of WSO Canada. Source - http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/4466526-sikhs-can-wear-kirpans-at-canadian-missions/
  19. http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2014/04/12/pritam-109-was-the-man-with-nine-lives/
  20. Sikh group wants to set up free faith school in Redbridge Harry Kemble, Reporter Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:45 PM A Sikh group is organising an application to set up a free faith school in the borough as early as next year, after canvassing the support of 1500 parents. Ten Sikhs have formed Atam Academy group, in partnership with the Slough Sikh Education Trust a provider of religious schools to deliver a free faith school by September 2015 in Redbridge. Before then the project has to be given the go-ahead by the Department of Education in May when it makes its application. Mankamal Singh, 40, of Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill, and part of the 10-man group, said: Being second generation British Sikhs we want to run a school based on a Sikh ethos. This is the challenge. It is about getting the right mix of people making sure that it is reflected in the type of school we are working towards. Of the 1500 signatures collected since August, Mr Singh believes, 20 per cent are non-Sikh. The signatures have been collected at venues across the borough, including at The Ilford Exchange in High Road, Ilford town centre and nursery groups. The group, according to Mr Singh, hopes to have 50 per cent faith-based and 50 per cent non-faith based at the school, describing this as the ideal scenario. Mr Singh revealed the group are currently searching for potential sites in the borough. We are hoping the registered interest [from parents] manifests itself into admissions, added Mr Singh, who also works as an accountant at the Seven Kings Gurdwara in High Road. The father-of-three said he is a supporter of the free school scheme introduced by the current government after the 2010 general election. He said: I will be honest with the faith school scheme which the current government introduced it is a way of giving back to the community. Our school is going to benefit Redbridge and that is what appeals to me. Source -http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/news/sikh_group_wants_to_set_up_free_faith_school_in_redbridge_1_3454264
  21. Griffith Council considering $250,000 loan to assist with roadworks at Sikh temple The Griffith Council is proposing to provide members of the city's Sikh society with a $250,000 loan for roadworks outside its new temple. The $3m facility near Hanwood was approved by council in 2009 and is expected to open later this year. The temple was vandalised twice last year, with local police expressing their concern about the racially motivated attack. Griffith Mayor, John Dal Broi, says before the temple can open the Kidman Way and Rae Road intersection must be upgraded and the Gurdwara Singh Saba Society has asked for assistance. "Council resolved we lend the money," he said. "The resolution was we lend for 10 years at a three per cent interest rate, and that loan be secured by way of individuals within the Indian community. The community won't be disadvantaged, as we will be charging interest and loan will be secured, otherwise it just doesn't happen. Griffith Mayor, John Dal Broi Council staff recommended the loan not be granted, but Councillor Dal Broi says the temple will be an asset "This could lead to further requests from various organisations, but the comment was made repeatedly that we have a large Indian community in Griffith now," he said. "They have a footprint in our area. "The community won't be disadvantaged, as we will be charging interest and loan will be secured, otherwise it just doesn't happen." Meanwhile, investigations are underway into whether the temple can be temporarily opened to coincide with the city's Sikh Games in June. "We are investigating whether or not we can allow it for a day or two, whilst those celebrations are on," Councillor Dal Broi said. "So they can have their official opening, then not be able to utilise it, until such time as all the conditions are complied with." Comments about the proposal can be submitted to council. Source - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-13/gx-sikh-temple/5317278?&section=news
  22. Sikhs mark 100 years in Kisumu despite statue damage By JOE OMBUOR KISUMU COUNTY: Kisumu residents, who recently brought down a religious monument erected in the centre of the lakeside city, claiming it was satanic, were overawed by the colour, splendour and solemnity rolled out by members of the Sikh community celebrating 100 years of the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Temple in commemoration of which the damaged monument was built. The city was in a carnival mood, with prayers, song, drum beats and trumpet melodies renting the air as hundreds of Sikh faithful from all over East Africa marched from the historic temple in a road show like no other. The procession was made up of trucks, tractors and even tankers bedecked with flowers and religious colours, and carrying revered sect leaders as it snaked its way through downtown streets to Guru Nanak Darbar Temple in Milimani and back. Refreshments were in plenty for everyone present. Nominated MP Sonia Birdi graced the occasion and delivered a message of reconciliation and respect among all communities for lasting peace. She urged forgiveness and remission for the people who destroyed the monument that cost the community so much to erect, saying it takes divine intervention for anything to happen. Ms Birdi praised Kisumu people for maintaining peace and displaying respect for their Sikh contemporaries throughout the procession and ceremonies. She described the Kisumu event as significant by the way it united the Sikh community. This kind of unity ought to be maintained and built on for the greater good, she said. It is high time national education was conducted to enlighten the people on the differences between Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and even Christians. To achieve this, we need mascots to preach the message of peace, love and unity as a prerequisite to prosperity. Charanjit Singh Hayer, the chairman of the centenarian temple, which still retains its original architecture, called for unity and understanding irrespective of religion, race or culture. PEACES SAKE He lauded the Sikh community in Kisumu for remaining strong in spite of challenges such as the destruction of the historic monument. A plaque at Kisumus Siri Guru Singh Sabha Temple located on Mosque Road indicates that S Attar Singh, whose title is given as Permanent Way Inspector of the Uganda Railway, laid the temples foundation stone on December 21, 1913. The controversial Sikh statue was brought down for the sake of peace in the lakeside city. One of the Sikh Sheikhs, Bilayi Singh, said they would build a water fountain instead. He said the Sikh community worships one god, not the devil. The residents had claimed they would welcome only sculptures of Kenyan heroes in the town. CORD leader Raila Odinga had held a meeting with religious leaders to avert a looming religious conflict in the town. Source - http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/mobile/?articleID=2000106678&story_title=Sikhs%20mark%20100%20years%20in%20Kisumu%20despite%20statue%20damage/thecounties/
  23. Proposals to turn former Citroen HQ into Sikh meditation centre due to be decided this week Published: 18 Feb 2014 16:45 PROPOSALS to turn the former HQ of a car manufacturer into a Sikh meditation and community centre were due to be decided on Thursday. Punjab House Association wants to open the worship centre - which would also include a Punjabi language school - in the vacant offices, showroom and workshop at the former Citroen site at 221 Bath Road, Slough. A report due to be heard by the planning committee recommended the decision to be delegated to the lead planning officer to make a decision, following consideration of a revised transport plan, car park layout and agreement of a financial contribution - known as a Section 106 payment. The Observer exclusively revealed the plans last month, which developers said would be based on meditation centres in China. The report states there would also be workshops run - including plastering, plumbing and bricklaying - and a day care centre for the elderly. It would also include a Punjabi language school and meditation and worship hall. The meditation hall would be able to cater for 500 people, but the application says a maximum of 200 would be expected from 10am-1pm on Sundays, and 50 through the week. It adds 100 pupils are expected to attend every Saturday. The site, thought to cover more than 1 hectare, also includes 280 car parking spaces, in a three-deck multi-storey car park. The offices have been empty since car manufacturer Citroen moved its HQ to Coventry in July 2012. A Citreon spokesman, last month, said the dealership on site will remain there for the medium-term future. He did confirm, however, they are looking for a new location in Slough. Developers hope the centre could be open from August. Source - http://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/slough/articles/2014/02/18/97832-proposals-to-turn-former-citroen-hq-into-sikh-meditation-centre-due-to-be-decided-this-week/#c
  24. **PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO SIKHS AND YOUR NON-SIKH FRIENDS WHO ARE WILLING TO HELP** SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT PUBLIC INQUIRY TO ESTABLISH THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ATROCITIES PERPETRATED AGAINST THE SIKHS IN 1984 Please action immediately. Print between 100-500 copies of the attached letter. Get members of the Sangat to sign the letter, add their name and full postal address, including their postcode. Please collect all completed letters and determine relevant MPs through individual’s postcode by visiting: http://www.writetothem.com/ and add the MPs name at the top. Please group the letters of each MP in one envelope, write the relevant MPs name on top and send to the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Note: The MP will be obliged to respond to each letter. It is essential we have a very high volume of letters sent to MPs as soon as possible. If you know your MPs email address you can also email them directly. Remember to add your name and full postal address. The letter is also reproduced below: Dear HMG INVOLVEMENT IN THE MASSACRE OF INNOCENT SIKHS IN JUNE 1984 On 2 February the Sikh Federation (UK) wrote to the Prime Minister expressing concerns about the context and terms of reference of the review by the Cabinet Secretary. The letter was widely reported upon by the mainstream media both nationally and internationally. It is most disappointing a reply has not yet been received. Similarly, on 4 February Baroness Warsi promised in the House of Lords debate a meeting, but her office has yet to make any arrangements. Given the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary’s assurances of a dialogue with the Sikh community, this is most regrettable. Sikh organisations have decided that, if there be no such meeting before 20 February, then they will hold a peaceful protest outside Downing Street and the Foreign Office on that date – a date chosen to coincide with the first anniversary of the Prime Minister’s historic visit to Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. The Sikh Federation (UK) has now written again to the Prime Minister on 12 February summarising some of the reasons and evidence which has lead the British Sikh community to conclude that the internal review has proved to be unsatisfactory, and also raised some of the questions which remain unanswered. We believe that those questions can only be satisfactorily answered through an independent public inquiry, led by a judge. A suggested terms of reference for the inquiry has been sent to the Prime Minister. A copy of the letter sent to the Prime Minister with relevant information has been sent to you directly by the Sikh Federation (UK) and is also available by emailing sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk Of course the current UK government bears no responsibility for the tragic events of 1984. Nevertheless, this government has a continuing responsibility to address the serious questions and considerable concerns which many UK citizens continue to have. I should be most grateful if you could let me know if you support the Sikh community’s call for a public inquiry; and, if you do not, your reasons. Also please email the Sikh Federation (UK) to indicate your support. With thanks. Yours sincerely, Name: Address (including postcode): Letter to MPs June 84.pdf
  25. Urgent actions to take to get answers from the UK Government on its complicity in the massacre of innocent Sikhs in June 1984 Courtesy of the Sikh Federation (UK) LETTER TO SEND TO AS MANY MPs AS POSSIBLE IN THE NEXT 48 HOURS You can find who your local MP by visiting: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk You can e-mail your MP by visiting: https://www.writetothem.com/ Dear [Name Here] MP, UK GOVERNMENT COMPLICITY IN THE MASSACRE OF INNOCENT SIKHS IN JUNE 1984 Following the release of documents under the ’30-year rule’ and revelations that the UK Government had direct involvement in the Indian army assault on the Sri Harmander Sahib Complex (often referred to the Golden temple Complex) the Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Secretary to undertake an urgent internal review on 13 January 2014. Three weeks later many more questions have arisen and the British Sikh community and Parliament need urgent answers. Sikh representatives met with the Cabinet Secretary last week on Wednesday 29 January and were provided with the terms of the review a couple of days later on 31 January. The Sikh Federation (UK) has shared the terms of the review widely within the Sikh community. I am dismayed the terms of the review were not formally made available to Parliamentarians or the Sikh community at the outset. I am also concerned that certain documents and files that may not be sensitive from a security perspective will not be disclosed as they may show the UK Government and the Indian authorities in a bad light at the time. Media reports suggested that the review would also examine why the initial letters from February 1984 had been released under the 30-year rule. It has been suggested the letters came out in error, although the letters appear not to come under any FOI exemption. The terms of the review we have been sent make no mention of what has been reported in the mainstream media and inconsistent with what the Prime Minister’s spokesman stated to the media when the review was first announced. I would be grateful if you could raise the following questions with the Prime Minister and/or Foreign Secretary immediately or when an announcement is made about the review in the House and you are able to put questions directly: When will an announcement be made in Parliament on the results of the review and if a report will be made available in advance to Parliamentarians to allow appropriate questions to be asked Why the terms of the review have not yet been made available to Parliamentarians and not shared at the outset with the Sikh community. If and why the terms of the review have been changed since the announcement on 13 January. Whether the review will be looking at Operation Sundown involving the possible advice and training input of an SAS officer on the kidnapping of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Sri Harmander Sahib Complex. Whether the review will look at the broader events of 1984 raised in Prime Minister Questions on 15 January. For example, Operation Woodrose, which was designed to crush public protest by Sikhs in Punjab, that took place in the months after Operation Blue Star. Within four to six weeks of the operation around 100,000 Sikhs, overwhelmingly young men were taken into custody, interrogated, tortured and many went missing. Whether the Prime Minister will use this opportunity to disclose what the UK Government knows of the Genocide of tens of thousands of Sikhs in November 1984 and the involvement of Indian politicians, police officers and other officials. Whether the Prime Minister will support the campaign to have the events of 1984 to be recognised as Genocide on the international stage. Whether the Prime Minister will agree to a wide-ranging independent judge-led inquiry given the revelations of direct UK involvement and the huge loss of innocent Sikhs lives in 1984. The extent of engagement with the Indian authorities in the last few weeks since the revelations and the announcement of the review and if the Indian authorities have tried to influence the findings for the UK Parliament. Why the review has been limited to a document search and interviews in relation to a narrow period mainly running up to June 1984, but not looked at the last half of 1984. For example, did the review look at the threat of possible sanctions by India against the UK, Germany, Canada and USA towards the end of 1984 for sympathising with Sikhs in the Diaspora following Operation Blue Star, Operation Woodrose and the Genocide of Sikhs in November 1984. Whether the Prime Minister to avoid a repeat of the situation will disclose early others papers concerning Sikhs, the UK Government and the Indian establishment so the truth can come out on the extent to which the Indian authorities have over the last 30 years tried to silence the Sikh voice of opposition in the UK. Whether the Foreign Secretary will commit for there to be quarterly meetings between Sikh representatives and Foreign Office Ministers. As your constituent I would like you to continue to raise this matter directly with the Prime Minister and in Parliament. I shall be grateful if you would provide me with your personal views on this matter and also provide me with a copy of any representations you make on my behalf. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely, [Your full name] [Address and Postcode]
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