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British Sikh MPs Demand Separate Sikh Ethnic Identity in Census 2021


British Sikh MPs Demand Separate Sikh Ethnic Identity

The Sikh MPs in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has demanded the separate identity for the Sikh community in the upcoming census in 2021 and discussed the issue with the executives at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), according to the statement released by the Sikh Federation on Wednesday..

Demand of Sikhs in the UK to be counted as a separate community gained further momentum as the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs and met officials of Office for National Statistics (ONS) to discuss the issue, a release by Sikh Federation on Wednesday said.

Preet Kaur Gill, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and the Chair of the APPG, handed ONS a letter signed by 140 MPs demanding a separate Sikh ethnic tick in the 2021 census.

Preet said "The number of MPs signing the letter could easily have been doubled or even tripled as there is universal support for Sikhs on this issue. We simply stopped adding additional signatures as we were meeting with ONS." She further stated that "ONS now know in no uncertain terms that it must recommend to Parliament the inclusion of a separate Sikh ethnic tick box in the Census 2021 or it will be overturned by MPs."

A number of points were put across to the ONS, including Sikhs are a legally recognised ethnic group that are protected from discrimination under UK law following the House of Lords ruling in the Mandla v Dowell Lee case in 1983.

MPs mentioned the last Census in 2011 showed a staggering 83,362 Sikhs ignored the existing tick box options and used the write in option to state their ethnicity as Sikh. This was almost an eight fold increase compared to the Census 2001 and several times higher than any other group choosing to use the write in option.

It was pointed out that in the Census 2011 ONS know that amazingly nearly 7,000 Sikhs when answering the ethnic question wrote in Sikh even though they did not indicate they were Sikh in response to the optional religious question. A clear indicator that the religion question in 2011 underestimated the Sikh population.

"Simple logic and an understanding on the requirements of the Sikh faith should tell ONS that tens of thousands of Sikhs would not have answered the optional religious question alongside the 20 million who did not answer the question or specified no religion. However, they would have been forced to select an existing ethnic group in the absence of a Sikh ethnic tick box." said Preet.

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