There was a hue and cry in the United Kingdom in 2019 when a video went viral on Facebook and Twitter showing a Sikh schoolboy being attacked.
The boy, in uniform, was set upon by two others of a similar age as he walked home after class. During the fight, the victim is grabbed in a headlock and his turban is left hanging off. Others are heard laughing at him, before the boy is pushed to the ground, pinned down and punched repeatedly on the back of the head.
Charlton School in Telford, Shropshire, confirmed the incident, after school on November 13, involved ‘a number’ of its students. It said it had ‘taken swift, immediate and appropriate action, including sanctions and targeted intervention for the perpetrators’.
Over the years there have been several other racially motivated attacks against Sikhs in the UK. In fact, such crimes are on the increase. Government figures show 117 hate crimes were recorded against Sikhs in 2017-2018 compared to 202 in 2019-2020. That’s an increase of 70% in the last two years, according to Home Office figures. And this may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Britain’s first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill, said: “The scale of hate crimes targeting the Sikh community is a phenomenon that is largely invisible to Government and the wider public.”
She added: “The increased reporting is the result of Sikh community organisations raising awareness of the need to report and has been achieved with no government funding or support.”