2011 census statistics | England and Wales
Total census Sikh population: 430,020
No. of Sikhs who identified themselves as Sikhs under ethnicity: 83,362
No. who identified themselves as Sikhs under both religion & ethnicity: 76,500
No. Sikhs who identified themselves under ethnicity only: 6,862
% Sikhs who do not want to be identified by religion 6,862/430,020: 1.6%*
The 2011 census results show that 98.4% of Sikhs in 2011 were happy to be identified by religion.
The above statistics show that the 2011 census accurately reflected the Sikh population. This effectively destroys the Sikh Federation UK’s (SFUK) case of under-representation. Facts and figures however mean nothing to the SFUK anxious to downplay our religious identity and show Sikhs as a tribe or sect needing state protection. Their staggering response is now to suggest without any evidence, that the true population of Sikhs is as much as 800,000.**Nearly twice the census figure, suggesting some 370,000 beings, so-called ‘ethnic Sikhs’ are wandering around refusing to be identified under ethnicity.
Dr Jhutti-Johal an academic from the University of Birmingham supports our position when she concludes, ‘It is difficult to see what additional benefit that data collected through a Sikh ethnic tick box would bring. ONS research has already suggested that the existing Sikh religion tick will capture virtually all Sikhs in the UK.’[i]
Whist previously boasting that Sikhs lead other communities in home ownership, in a classic example of double-think SFUK have since claimed Sikhs face discrimination in housing.[ii] They contradict themselves. In the 2016 UK Sikh Survey, The Sikh Network (their sister organisation) suggested, ‘92% of Sikhs are owner occupiers the highest for any group in the UK’.[iii]The 2014 British Sikh Report made a similar point, ‘In terms of wealth and assets, home ownership is very high amongst British Sikhs with 87% of households owning at least a portion of their home’.[iv] Why the U-turn by SFUK?
Worse still the legal action against the Cabinet Office was brought by the Chair of the SFUK, namely Amrik Singh Gill (on behalf of SFUK), the owner of apparently more than 100 properties, who was recently described as a ‘rogue landlord’ and fined more than £50,000 for housing tenants in overcrowded and substandard conditions.[v] We have asked the SFUK to confirm or deny if their Chair Amrik Singh Gill was the subject of the fine and gave them an opportunity to comment on the decision, we did not hear back from them. The phrase, ‘physician heal thyself’ comes to mind.
The SFUK are now seeking permission to appeal the High Court decision against them,[vi] with Gill as the appellant on behalf of the SFUK.[vii] Neither Gill nor, the SFUK represent the view of the majority of British Sikhs who are content with describing themselves as Sikhs by religion in the census.
All Sikh organisations urgently need to make clear that the ‘rogue’ Sikh Federation UK in no way speaks for British Sikhs.