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Sikh groups ramp up pressure to get tick box decision overturned

LONDON: British Sikh MP Preet Gill is busy tabling parliamentary questions as some Sikh teams are lobbying MPs in an orchestrated bid to overturn the Office for National Statistics (ONS) advice not to have a Sikh ethnic tick field in the 2021 UK census.

The Sikh Federation (UK) (SFUK), Sikh Council UK, All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs (APPG) for British Sikhs, of which Gill is chair, want the field to be included in the response to the query “What is your ethnic staff?”.

On December 14, 2018, the ONS really helpful that Sikh would remain as an possibility in the religion query however now not be added to the ethnicity query “because this could now not be applicable to a share of the Sikh population”.

ONS said it reached this conclusion having undertaken qualitative and quantitative research between 2015 and 2018, to discover whether or not to add Sikh beneath ‘Asian/Asian British’ in the ethnicity response field, which has Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese, or whether or not to add it beneath ‘Other ethnic staff’ next to ‘Arab’.

Infuriated via the response, Sikh teams introduced a year-long marketing campaign #MakeSikhsCount2021 to get the tick field included in the secondary legislation, which the federal government will put sooner than the Parliament in the type of a Census Order later this year.

Supporters claim the ONS findings are flawed and nearly all of Sikhs want the field. They claim many Sikhs do not want to be labelled as Indian and the field is needed to allocate assets to and plan products and services for Sikhs, and the faith query is voluntary.

However, the ones in opposition to say it creates a warfare between having to make a choice whether or not they are Sikh or Indian, and Sikh is not their “ethnic identification”. An ONS report on the findings of six focus teams they commissioned states: “Many more youthful Sikh members have been extra all for expressing the British side in their ethnic identification…They additionally saw the inclusion as an try to segregate them from….their Asian or Indian heritage.”

On February 6, Eddie Hughes MP asked Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at ONS, in the Parliament, how the ONS could make sure that the 40,000 public bodies that use census ethnic classes to collect information, would have enough information on Sikhs. Bell admitted, “Many public bodies are best choosing up ethnicity.” But he said the “evidence on unacceptability” got here from the focal point teams and “there was once now not a single unanimous view in favour of inclusion.”

The SFUK informed NewsTread it isn't ruling out prison action in opposition to the ONS.

In December Gill, in a written parliamentary query, asked what proportion of the Sikh population would now not settle for a Sikh tick field. John Pullinger, national statistician, replied the field was once now not applicable to more youthful, second-generation members, who felt it was once unfair to include Sikh without additionally together with all different religions inside the ethnic staff query. “Some have been perplexed on whether or not to spot as Indian, Sikh or to write down in any other identification comparable to Punjabi”, he wrote.

Gill tabled any other parliamentary query on 28 January, asking “How most of the 53 focus staff members supported the advent of a Sikh ethnic tick field?". Pullinger answered: “Qualitative research is not designed to supply such figures.”

The SFUK points to an on open assembly held via ONS on 23 October 2017, to which 47 folks got here. Of the ones 45 – in a display of hands – said they sought after each a Sikh ethnic tick field and a Sikh religion tick field. The two who did not have been Lord Singh of Wimbledon, who is the director and Hardeep Singh, who is deputy-director, of the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO).

An NSO spokesperson informed TOI: "The assembly was once perplexed and hostile, with a whole lot of Sikh Federation UK supporters in attendance”. The spokesperson said the focal point must now be on research commissioned via the ONS around the broader British Sikh neighborhood which “showed more youthful Sikhs identified primarily as Sikhs via religion…which is in line with Sikh teachings.”

The SFUK, however, maintains the ONS has additionally neglected a survey of 112 gurudwaras, which display 100 in keeping with cent want the field. Pullinger argues that the survey was once flawed as it was once undertaken via APPG for British Sikhs, now not the ONS. In a letter to Gill, he wrote: “The protecting letter put a powerful case for the inclusion of the tick-box. This would now not be thought to be conducive to the number of unbiased statistical evidence."

A spokeswoman for the ONS stands via its advice. “ONS made its recommendations on the ethnicity staff tick bins after looking at all the evidence provided as much as the newsletter of the white paper," she said.

But Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the SFUK said: "We are assured Cabinet Office ministers will see commonplace sense after taking note of MPs from each side that may disclose the issues of the ONS.”


2015 to 2018: ONS engages with Sikh neighborhood to know whether or not there's improve for each a Sikh ethnic tick field and a Sikh religion tick field in the next census.

23 October 2017: ONS hosts open assembly at London resort to discover Sikh ethnic tick field. 47 attend and 45 of them say they want a Sikh ethnic and religion tick field

December 2017: ONS broadcasts Sikh is one in every of four teams it must adopt additional research on (others are Roma, Somali and Jewish)

April to May 2018: Six focus teams held in London, Birmingham and Leicester with 53 Sikh respondents. Findings are that a Sikh ethnic tick-box is not considered as applicable.

May 2018: Online quantitative survey performed of two,412 respondents. Quantitative survey findings display there is no evidence that the religious affiliation and ethnic staff questions are shooting other Sikh populations.

14 December 2018: ONS publishes its white paper recommending in opposition to a Sikh ethnic tick field. Sikh teams get started a year-long marketing campaign to get modification to census order.

Autumn 2019: The government will lay a census order sooner than parliament which will include the content and date of the census

March 2021: Online census expected to be performed

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