Sikh Activism in Britain: Narratives and Issues

Sikh Activism In Britain: Narratives And Issues

A new CREST guide by Dr Jasjit Singh looks at the narratives and issues which lead Sikhs in Britain to participate in publicly visible activism.

Sikh activism in Britain fundamentally changed in 1984 following two events: the storming of Harmandir Sahib (often referred to as the Golden Temple) during Operation Bluestar in June 1984; and the violence that took place against Sikhs across India in November 1984 following the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister by her Sikh bodyguards.

From a community who generally supported India and who were focused on campaigning for the right to maintain Sikh symbols in Britain, anger about the events of 1984 moved many Sikhs in Britain to protest about these incidents and about the lack of recourse from the Indian state.

Sikh Activism In Britain: Narratives And Issues. Click to download.

A new guide by Dr Jasjit Singh explores Sikh activism in the UK. It gives an overview of the political, religious and social/cultural narratives which emerged from a series of interviews and a literature review as part of his CREST funded research project on ‘Sikh radicalisation in Britain’.

Download a free copy of the guide here.

The guide is one of a number of resources to come out of the CREST commissioned project ‘Investigating Sikh Radicalisation In Britain’. The project was developed in response to media reports in November 2015 about ‘Sikh radicalisation in Britain’ an issue which has received much political and media attention, but little academic research.

The project investigated the idea, context, framing and reality of ‘Sikh radicalisation’ in Britain, and included an open source evaluation of the threat and likelihood of violent Sikh extremism, as well as of Sikh involvement in far right and anti-Muslim movements.

Evidence was gathered from historic and contemporary media sources, academic literature, social media, internet discussion forums, ethnographic fieldwork and a series of semi-structured interviews.

Dr Jasjit Singh published a full report and executive summary on his findings. You can find all the resources from the project here.

Key Findings

  • There is no threat to the British state or to the wider British public from Sikh activism as there is no conflict with ‘the West’ or with Britain.
  • The main threat to community relations from Sikhs in Britain is from individual or group vigilantism resulting from internal Sikh issues/disputes or from the exploitation of local inter-community tensions.
  • Much Sikh activism in Britain actually contributes positively to the integration agenda, particularly in the form of humanitarian relief provided during disasters and incidents where members of the public require support.

Read More

Download the new guide Sikh Activism in Britain: Narratives and Issues here:

A full report and executive summary on The idea, context, framing and realities of ‘Sikh Radicalisation’ in Britain, which provide further detail and evidence, are available at:

Full Report:

Executive Summary:

You can also read more about the project at:

As part of CREST’s commitment to open access research, this guide is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. For more details on how you can use our content see here.

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