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April 17, 2024 11:52 am

Sikh man sentenced to jail in UK for targeting Dalits in offensive post

London, April 12

A 68-year-old Indian-origin Sikh in the UK has been prosecuted and sentenced to 18 weeks in jail for posting hate speech on social media targeting Dalit communities.

Amrik Bajwa, 68, of Bowyer Drive, Slough, was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of sending offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing message/matter via public communication network, the Thames Valley Police said.

On July 19, 2022, Bajwa posted a video to TikTok “that was offensive to the Sikh community”. He was arrested on July 22, 2022, and charged via postal requisition on March 2, 2023, a police statement read.

“I am pleased with the sentence given, which provides a clear message that Thames Valley Police will not tolerate behaviour like that of Amrik Bajwa,” Investigating officer Sergeant Andrew Grant, based at Slough police station, said.

The UK-based Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA), which was one of the key organisations to bring the Bajwa’s TikTok video to the attention of the police, said it “was highly toxic, racist and casteist in content”, and targeted Dalit communities.

“Bajwa threatened to rape women from the Dalit communities that he was insulting, and claimed to have raped their daughters, sisters and mothers in the past with impunity,” the ACDA said.

Welcoming the sentencing, ACDA said the jail-term reflects the severity of the harm Amrik Bajwa’s video caused the Dalit community.

“We understand the conviction did not specifically refer to ‘caste’ because caste is not yet a protected characteristic in law. But the Crime Prosecution Service shared at the hearing today the derogatory words ‘Choora’ and ‘Chaamar’ that Mr Bajwa used,” ACDA said in a statement.

The matter first went to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision but was subsequently escalated to the Attorney General for a final decision.

Previously, Gurvinder Singh Luthra from west London received a 16 week suspended prison sentence in 2021 for producing and sharing an “offensive and menacing” hate video on social media.

The Thames Valley Police started their investigations after numerous communities, including ACDA, got together and complained against Bajwa’s actions.

“As a force, we are committed to protecting our communities and ensuring that criminal actions which have the potential to undermine community cohesion are dealt with robustly,” Sergeant Grant said.

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