- Navneet Kaur
A recent incident has come forward where the Sikh colleague has been harassed over his religious beliefs where his turban is mocked as a ‘bandage’ or ‘hat’ by the nursing officer and lecturer, Maurice Slaven at the UK University. A strict action has been taken by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) by striking off the culprit’s name from the country’s medical register.
The Sikh victim alleged that he had been harassed by Slaven on various occasions since October 2016 to December 2018 and therefore in March 2019, a fitness to practice referral was received by the NMC Tribunal. According to the proof, the questions that were asked by Slaven were as “where is your bandage” or “why ain’t you wearing your bandage or hat?” referring to the turban. In response to these questions, the accused told him that it was not a “hat” or a “bandage”
Slaven made a statement that he believed it to be a “banter between friends”, whereas he did not notice that the Sikh Lecturer was getting offended every time such comments were being passed. However, the panel did not considered the explanation of Slaven to the HR Department of the university and declared that his behaviour has been discriminatory as well as inappropriate.
An interim suspension order for a period of 18 months has been issued. Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) said the matter was dealt with in accordance with our internal procedures and “the individual is no longer employed by ARU”.
This is the second incident that has taken place in the UK from the last two months. Another incident took place on 23rd March, 2022, where two Sikh Boys were racially attacked by a trio of 14-year old boys. The video was making rounds all over the social media where they can be seen being punched and the turban is pulled off.
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner took the matter seriously and confirmed that the culprits were put behind the bars. A following meeting took place in Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara to support the victims. During the public meeting, Judgemeadow principal, Jason Smith, apologized to the families of the Sikh denizens which was broadcast on Channel Punjab.
Not only in the UK, but the Sikh community has been attacked numerous times in Richmond Hill, New York. On April 13, a 62-year old, Kuldip Singh was attacked and robbed while he was returning back from his morning walk. The robbers came from the bike and at the point of the gun they robbed Kuldip Singh and brutally beat him up. Other than this, ten days after the incident, two other Sikh victims were also attacked at the same location where they were also asked to leave the country.
It has been reported that the Anti Sikh hate crimes have risen up to 70% over the last few years. In the year 2021, Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that the hate crimes against the Sikh Community has risen up since 2015, while 500 hate crimes were recorded in Ohio in 2020.
Numerous Sikh communities have come forward to support the Sikh community in various and distinctive ways. Britain's first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill stated that "There are lots of concerns from the Sikh community that there is not enough being done to protect us. The community feels forgotten. There needs to be a definition, just like there is for antisemitism and Islamophobia, for anti-Sikh hate crimes" and added that she herself was a victim of hate crime.
Various sikh organizations have come forward to help eradicate the crimes. The United Sikhs rallied against the hate on May 23rd on the steps of Queens Borough Hall to speak against the increasing crimes.