Really proud that my motion, calling on the Mayor to work with the National Sikh War Memorial Trust to find a Central London site for a fitting tribute to the Sikh soldiers who fought during the Great Wars, passed at the London Assembly plenary today.
I put forward this motion because we must recognise the extraordinary sacrifices made by Sikh soldiers during both World Wars in service of our nation: more than 80,000 Sikh soldiers gave their lives and over 100,000 were injured during the conflicts.
I would like to thank Leonie Cooper for seconding the motion, and all my colleagues for their exceptionally kind words in support of it. I am so pleased that the motion passed unanimously; a real tribute to the importance of this issue and the strength of support for the memorial.
The full text of the motion is:
The London Assembly recognises the extraordinary bravery and sacrifices of Sikh and other soldiers in service of Great Britain, including during both World Wars, and supports the erection of a permanent national monument in a prime central London location to commemorate and highlight these contributions.
It further notes that for more than a decade there has been a demand from various interest groups for the installation of such a national monument. There is widespread cross-party support for the Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for such a memorial.
We welcome and note the recent statement by the Mayor of London whilst on a visit to India that it is only right that these brave Sikh soldiers should have a permanent memorial in London. The Mayor and all the Leaders of the UK Political Parties in the House of Commons pledged their support for this initiative at the launch of the National Sikh War Memorial Trust on 30 January 2018 in Parliament presided by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
The Sikhs made up only 2% of the population of British India but formed 20% of the British Indian Army during the First World War, and hundreds of thousands of Sikh soldiers engaged in active service during the two major wars and many other conflicts. More than 83,000 turbaned Sikh soldiers laid down their lives and more than 100,000 were injured during the World Wars.
This Assembly calls upon the Mayor, before the end of this Mayoralty, to work with the National Sikh War Memorial Trust to find a Central London site befitting a permanent national monument dedicated to the Sikhs who made, or were willing to make, the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of our country.