(Asian Independent)

Joint Statement from Dalit organisations in the UK, in response to Caste / Racist comments made by Mr Gurvinder Singh Luthra from Hounslow, London.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Luthra on his TikTok account (singhluthra) recently produced and shared a video where he proceeded to abuse Guru Ravidass, who is the spiritual figure head for millions of his followers across the world, including over 200,000 here in the UK. Guru Ravidass’ teachings are enshrined within the Sikh Scriptures – the Guru Granth Sahib.

During his rant, Mr Luthra made a number of highly objectionable and offending comments, including the following:

– Whilst referring to an unnamed person, he repeatedly refers to him as the “testicles of Guru Ravidass”.
– He threatens to rape female family members of the unnamed person
– He makes a homophobic slur in reference to Guru Ravidass and the unnamed person.

It has been brought to our notice that this isn’t the first time that Mr Luthra has made caste / racist hatred comments on social media. A number of videos have surfaced recently exposing him using caste and offensive language that has hurt the Ravidassia community.

Hate speech laws in the UK are designed to protect communities from such abuse. The fact that Mr Luthra has been able to act with impunity on social media – is another sign that the UK Government needs to bring into effect legislation designed to protect victims of caste hatred.

In recent years – social media giants including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all recognised caste hate speech as unacceptable and say so openly in their guidance. It is time for TikTok to follow suit.

Members of the Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) have been campaigning for legal protection for victims of Caste-based discrimination (CBD) for nearly two decades, working closely with grassroots organisations comprised of, and representing Dalits, here in the UK. Following extensive community campaigning on behalf of victims, legislation outlawed caste discrimination in the UK in 2013, however the law is yet to be implemented. The legislation has received the full support of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the United Nations, however the Government decided in 2018 not to implement it following opposition from powerful groups.

The ACDA recently wrote to the Minister for Equalities, Ms Liz Truss and called on her to take action and outlaw CBD in the UK. The need for implementation of the law remains relevant in light of the caste / racist videos that are being shared on some social media outlets and other recent legal cases of CBD in the UK.

This incident has been reported to the police. We call on the Dalit community here in the UK to remain calm, tolerant and to allow the police to conduct their enquiries on this hate crime. Members may wish to contact the police & the EHRC and to report this incident as a hate / caste crime. Let the statutory authorities take action against Mr Luthra.

Mr Ravi Kumar, General Secretary of ACDA said: “The caste hate rants and threats of rape by Mr Luthra are very upsetting and disturbing. For him to believe he can make such hate attacks and threats of rape and share this on social media tells me the Conservative Government has failed when it comes to Caste-based discrimination here in the UK.”

Mr Dalawer Bagha, from the Guru Ravidass Sabha UK said: “We call on the Government to listen to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s calls for Caste discrimination to be outlawed in the UK”.

Mr Sam Kalyan, from the Bhagwan Valmik Organisations said: “This Government is not listening to common sense, it is watering down human rights provisions that protect the most marginalised communities and victims in the United Kingdom”.

Mr Arun Kumar, from The Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK (FABOUK) said: “If Caste legislation is not enforced, then Caste discrimination cases will carry on occurring here in this country”.

Mr Navdeep Singh, from the Asian Rationalist Society Great Britain said: ““Equality laws aren’t just about legal justice. They help change behaviours and help deter discrimination”.

Mr Bhagwant Singh, from the Indian Workers Association Great Britain said: “It’s shameful that the Government has failed sufferers and victims of Caste discrimination in the UK. We need the law to be implemented”

Mr Sat Paul, from the British Ravidassia Heritage Research Group said: “Guru Ravidass is a shining example of equality for India, he fought tyranny and stood for equality. For a so-called baptised Sikh to insult Guru Ravidass in this way is appalling and an insult to both followers of Guru Ravidass and Sikhs”.

Mr Hansraj Banga, from Kanshi TV said: “These remarks are totally unacceptable, and they are another example of caste discrimination here in the UK. We call on Government to act now to stop this type of hate and to provide protection to victims of caste discrimination.”

24 November 2020

This Statement is supported by:

Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance
All Bhagwan Valmik Sabhas and associated Temples in the UK
All India Adi-Dharam Mission UK
Ambedkar Mission Society, Bedford
Amrit Bani O
Anti Land Grab and Forced Displacement of People
Asian Rationalists Society, Britain
British Ravidassia Heritage Research Group
Buddha Dhamma Association, Southall Dr Ambedkar Mission Society, Glasgow Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation, Birmingham
Dr Ambedkar Memorial Trust, London
Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK
Indian Scheduled Caste Welfare Association, UK
Indian Workers’ Association, Great Britain
International Asian Christian Front
Kanshi Radio Ltd
Kanshi TV
Kesri Lehar
Punjab Buddhist Society, UK
Punjabi Writers Association Coventry
Samaj Weekly
Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha UK(SGRS-UK), and all associated Temples in the UK
Shri Guru Ravidass Bhawan Birmingham
Shri Guru Ravidass Dharmik Sabha Wolverhampton
Shri Guru Ravidass Cultural Association Darlaston
Shri Guru Ravidass Mission International
Shri Guru Ravidass Amrit Bani Centre
Tarkseel Society