LONDON: Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn have joined forces to call for a memorial in London commemorating the contribution of Sikh soldiers during the two world wars. The London Mayor said the memorial should take “pride of place” in the capital as it was announced that £375,000 has been raised for the project so far. Speaking at the parliamentary launch of a campaign for a National Sikh War Memorial in central London, he said: “Britain and the world owe a huge debt to the Sikh service men and women who fought alongside British troops during the First and Second World Wars. “The heroic Sikh soldiers who laid down their lives for our country and the freedoms we enjoy today should get the recognition they deserve.”
More than 80,000 turban wearing Sikh soldiers are estimated to have died fighting for Britain during the two world wars, with 100,000 more injured, the Evening Standard reported on Wednesday. The campaign for a memorial to their efforts to be built in London has won the support of more than 27,000 people in an online petition. It also gained cross-party backing from the likes of Labour leader MrCorbyn, Lib Demleader SirVinceCable, and communities secretary Sajid Javid. Labour’s Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who last year became the first turban-wearing Sikh to enter Parliament as an MP hosted the campaign launch on Tuesday evening.
“Memorials already exist in London for Soldiers from the Commonwealth, British India, Poland, African-Caribbean nations, and for the Gurkhas but none of a turbaned Sikh Soldier,” he said. “Hopefully with the active support of the Government, the Mayor of London and the local authorities, we will in the very near future have a permanent national monument in a fitting central London location.”