As Sikh organizations and gurdwaras are making the Sikhs living in the United Kingdom (UK) aware of their ethnic identity and encouraging them not to classify ethnically as “Indian” in the online census, the Akal Takht Sahib has also asked the community members to fill the column related to ethnicity with “Sikh”, not “India”.
The Census is commencing on March 21. As few days are left for it, the Sikh leaders in Britain are on their toes to alert the community and convince them that mentioning themselves as “Sikh” in this column will help the community get rid of many problems and establish a distinct identity in the world.
In a video message shared on his Facebook page, SGPC-appointed Jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh said, “Sikhs settled in the UK should keep it in their mind that they are to classify themselves as Sikh ethnically. In the language-related column, they are to mention ‘Punjabi’. This move will eradicate many problems of the community”.
“In previous censuses, we never paid heed toward this aspect. Resultantly, we are facing many problems there. This time, we must repeat previous mistakes. The Sikhs living in other countries should also contribute to this cause by contacting their relatives, friends, and nears in the UK and asking them to describe their ethnic identity as Sikh”, he said.
The Jathedar said, “We should be proud of being Sikh and establish our separate identity. The upcoming census is an adequate opportunity for the Sikhs”.
In November last year, the High Court in London dismissed a challenge brought by a British Sikh group against the UK Cabinet Office for its failure to incorporate a separate Sikh ethnicity tick-box in the next census in 2021. The Census in the UK takes place after 10 years to capture up-to-date details about households so that public services can be planned.
The long-running campaign backed by several MPs was based on claims of alleged significant undercounting of the Sikh population in official statistics without a separate tick box. Census ethnicity figures are used for a range of purposes, including allocation of funds.
Campaign group Sikh Federation (UK), which brought the claim, said it would continue to fight for separate recognition for the community. It had argued that the decision to exclude the tick box was based on legally unsustainable reasoning and, therefore, unlawful.