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Telford Sikh leader demands public apology from Conservative Party

By Aimee Jones | Church Stretton | General Election 2019 | Published:

The president of the Gurdwara in Telford is calling for the Conservative Party to make a public apology to the Sikh community.

Philip Dunne and Kuldip Sahota

It comes after Ludlow parliamentary candidate Philip Dunne accused his Labour opponent Kuldip Sahota of "talking through his turban" at a hustings event in Church Stretton last month.

Mr Dunne quickly apologised but has failed to make a public apology despite calls from the Labour party and other groups.

Parkash Singh Dham, president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Telford has now written to the chairman of the Conservative Party, James Cleverly.

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"This remark has been dismissed as an innocent mistake, however I would like to remind you that when members in positions of power use this type of offensive language, especially in the public domain, it can be viewed by certain members who feel it is acceptable to discriminate, that this language is perfectly acceptable," he said.

"I am sure you will agree that this sort of language that causes hurt to any community group has no place in this modern-day society that we reside in today."

Mr Dham said he appreciates that all parties wish to express their views and opinions with great vigour during the election campaign but added that no one should cross the line where it becomes offensive.

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"I have personally spoken to Mr Sahota and have seen how hurt he was by the comment made against him and our Sikh faith," he said.

"As a community we were shocked by the intuitional failure of the Conservative party that had taken no action against Mr Dunne.

"I am therefore calling on you and the leader of your party to take responsibility and a make a public apology to the Sikh community as well as give us some assurances that this sort of language will not be used in future by any member of your party.

"The fact that a member of parliament has been able to offend the Sikh faith openly in front of an audience of 200, yet face no sanction from your party is extremely upsetting and disappointing."

Mr Dahm has not yet received a reply to his letter which was sent on December 4.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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