Colin Bloom, an independent faith engagement advisor to the UK government, has called for action against the “pro-Khalistan extremism” movement in the country. He noted that a small group of individuals is using aggressive tactics to encourage Sikhs in the UK to support their pro-Khalistan agenda. In an interview with ANI, Bloom emphasized that the government should crack down on extremist fringe elements and recognize faith groups as a force for good.
Bloom conducted a landmark review into faith engagement, which received more than 21,000 responses to a public consultation. He made 22 recommendations for the British government on how to celebrate the contribution of faith groups while tackling harmful practices. The review found that a tiny minority amongst the Sikh community in the UK are very aggressive, very loud, and not representative of the majority British-Sikh community.
Bloom mentioned that there are still a number of Sikh extremist and terrorist organizations that are prescribed as terrorist organizations, such as Babbar Khalsa. He emphasized that membership of banned organizations is a criminal offense and the government needs to do more to crack down on extremist fringe elements.
Bloom expressed hope that the actions of fringe elements do not damage bilateral ties between India and the UK. He said that the UK and India have some of the strongest ties, with a great deal of affection and a shared history that goes back many hundreds of years. He emphasized that we need to build on the things that bind us together rather than divide us.
Bloom also spoke about the importance of peaceful protest in a free, democratic society, but noted that when protest becomes violent, includes criminal damage, or involves coercing others to behave in a criminal way, it crosses the line. He encouraged drawing a clear line between peaceful protest and violent actions.
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