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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Sikhs lobby MPs over identity
Sikh representatives
Sikhs lobbied MPs on similar issues last year
More than 250 Sikhs are lobbying MPs on Tuesday to demand a change in how their ethnic identity is officially recognised.

Currently, the UK's 600,000 Sikhs are classified for monitoring purposes as British Indians.

The community leaders who are taking their case to Parliament argue they should be known as a separate group in official documentation.

They will have a meeting with Home Office minister Angela Eagle next month.

Kashmiri concerns

They are claiming the right to a distinctive identity exists under the Race Relations Amendment Act.

And if their pleas are ignored, they say they will take legal action against the Home Office and the Commission for Racial Equality.

Their action comes as Britain's Kashmiri community voices similar concerns.

In November, Sikh leaders raised related complaints with the government.

Sikhs from all over the UK convened on the Houses of Parliament to complain about anti-terrorism laws post-11 September which banned them from wearing ceremonial swords in airports.

They also asked for funds for Sikh organisations, help in promoting the Sikh identity and language, funding for Sikh schools, help in preserving Sikh heritage and help in protecting Sikhs' human rights.

See also:

15 Apr 99 | South Asia
Who are the Sikhs?
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