LABOUR PARTY leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls to explain his decision to block bid to make leading Sikh independence supporter a peer over his alleged ‘extremist’ links.
Friends of senior public official Dabinderjit Singh Sidhu insisted that the decision was ‘complete nonsense’, The Daily Mail reported.
The Labour leader is also being urged to say whether he had bowed to warnings that the Indian government would be furious to see Sidhu receive the honour.
According to reports, Sidhu, a long-standing campaigner for the creation of a sovereign Sikh state in the Punjab in India, was due to be one of six new Labour peers announced just before Christmas.
The report said that he was told Sir Starmer had withdrawn his nomination on Sunday(10).
Labour Party said that it had received new information about the ‘background’ of Sidhu,55, who is a senior official at the National Audit Office.
He faced reports in 2008 that he had been a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) which was banned in the UK in 2001 amid Home Office warnings its members were a threat to national security.
In June of 2007, he had spoken at a rally in Trafalgar Square at which another speaker praised terrorism and at which the banners of a separate banned Sikh terror group – Babbar Khalsa – were on open display, reports said.
That group was implicated in the bombing of an Air India plane off the coast of Ireland with the death of all 329 crew and passengers.
Sidhu was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to the NAO, equal opportunities and the Sikh community.