London– Labour supporters have complained to the party about British Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill after she sent a series of WhatsApp messages on a group undermining allegations of sexual abuse within gurdwaras.
According to the messages seen by The Guardian, Gill says those calling Sikh temples unsafe are using “very dangerous language” and urges them to tender written apology to gurdwaras.
“I was very surprised by her comments, as there are genuine concerns with safeguarding at UK gurdwaras,” Nav Johal, a Labour councillor who was on the group to which Gill sent the messages, told The Guardian.
“Her messages were even more surprising given Gill (a former social worker) comes from a child protection background,” Johal added.
The flare-up over the WhatsApp messages happened after UK charity and victim support service Sikh Women’s Aid (SWA), which surveyed 839 Sikh women in Britain, found that close to two-thirds of them had experienced domestic abuse.
Some of the respondents said that they had been abused by faith leaders as the report went on to warn about the lack of protection offered by gurdwaras, The Guardian said.
The SWA had said in its report that it “has advocated for several cases where sexual abuse and misconduct were alleged to have taken place or exacerbated in Gurdwara and faith settings”.
After the publication of the report, an angry Gill posted a series of messages on the WhatsApp group, Sikhs in Labour. “Where is your Evidence guru ghars (Gurdwaras) are not safe??? This is outrageous you should apologise to the sikh community,” she wrote in one of the messages shared by The Guardian.
“Calling guru ghars unsafe is very dangerous language. Please submit a written apology to guru ghars,” she added.
Gill also said in one of her messages that alleged victims of rape at one particular gurdwara had been in consensual relationships with their accused attacker. (IANS)