UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has dropped the plans to give a peerage to a leading Sikh independence supporter amid concerns over his alleged extremist links, as reported by Daily Mail on Sunday. The leader belonging to the Labour Party is facing calls to explain his decision after friends of public official Dabinderjit Singh Sidhu said that it was ‘complete nonsense’ to say he was a fanatic.
“Mr Singh, a long-standing campaigner for the creation of a sovereign Sikh state in Punjab in India, was due to be one of six new Labour peers announced just before Christmas. But The Mail on Sunday understands that on the day of the announcement, he was told Sir Keir had withdrawn his nomination. The move came even though the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which vets peerages on security service advice, had approved the nomination,” Daily Mail reported.
The UK opposition party sources on Saturday said that they had received the new information pertaining to Singh’s background. It was reported that Singh in 2008 that he was a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) which was banned in the UK in 2001 amid Home Office warnings its members were a threat to national security.
One Labour MP who knows Singh on Saturday called on Keir to ‘sort this out’, suggesting inexperience in his office had led to the confusion. Singh’s friends denied he had been a member of the Sikh youth organisation and added that he had always campaigned peacefully for a Khalistan independent Sikh state.
The Sikh Federation UK condemned what they called a ‘hate campaign’ against Singh. A party source said the decision to withdraw the nomination was taken ‘when we were made aware of new information about Mr Singh’s background’, as quoted by Daily Mail.
It was reported that Singh participated in the recent anti-India farmer protests in London and has also been a part of protests outside the Indian High Commission in the past.
The pro-Khalistanis in the West, who are backed by Pakistani secret agency, the ISI, are frustrated since Canada and UK governments have denied any support to their so-called 2020 Punjab Referendum. The Indian state of Punjab has faced over a decade long militancy in the 1980s and early 1990s. Few Sikhs, who migrated to the West during the time of militancy in Punjab, are running this fake campaign with an aim to harm India’s sovereignty at the behest of Pakistan.