Festive greetings: Prime minister Theresa May meets guests at an event to celebrate Vaisakhi


 

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May paid tribute to the Sikh community at a reception in Downing Street yesterday (8) to celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi.

Prominent Sikhs from all walks of life joined the prime minister as she acknowledged the achievements of the community and also noted that 2019 marks the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, in 1469.

“Thank you to all of you here and to Sikhs across the UK for the brilliant contribution you make to our country day in and day out,” the prime minister said, as she recognised the “diverse and wide ranging roles our Sikh community plays in so many different arenas”.

The prime minister also reiterated Britain’s regret over the Jallianwala Bagh anniversary during India’s freedom movement.

“No one who has heard the accounts of what happened that day can fail to be deeply moved. No one can truly imagine what the visitors to those gardens went through that day one hundred years ago,” she said.

“Jallianwala Bagh is a shameful scar on British Indian history,” the prime minister said, echoing similar sentiments made to the House of Commons last month.

She added: “Our relationship with the Sikh community is one we cherish greatly – with collaboration and partnership at its heart.”

On the occasion, the prime minister presented a Point of Light Award to Manjit Gill, the founder of a charity called Binti, which campaigns to providing menstrual dignity to girls around the world.

The prime minister also met children from the Nishkam School Trust, who presented her with a framed Vaisakhi prayer and a flower garland.

Guests who attended the reception included English cricketer Amar Virdi and Goodness Gracious Me actor Kulvinder Ghir.

The secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, James Brokenshire, also addressed the gathering.