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Memorial to SIkh Soldiers confirmed in London

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 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 Mr Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, 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.”

Sajid Javid added “Despite making up only two per cent of the Indian population when the First World War broke out, Sikhs accounted for more than 20 per cent of the Indian Army’s manpower. Sikh soldiers from the Punjab and surrounding states saw action in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, most notably on the Western Front and at Gallipoli,” the statement from the ministry of housing, communities and local government said.

On the western front Sikhs fought and died alongside their British, Indian and Commonwealth counterparts; their contribution was essential to the war effort and of the 22 Military Crosses awarded to Indian soldiers, 14 went to Sikhs.

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