UK considering classifying Sikhism as separate ethnicity for 2021 census after demand by British Sikh groups

London: Sikhism is being considered as a separate ethnicity in the next UK census in 2021, the UK Statistics Authority has said, following a long-standing demand by some British Sikh groups.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) had opened a public consultation over whether to add the separate box for Sikhs under ethnicity, instead of just as a religion, and are now getting ready to present the findings to the government. "Our recommendations for the 2021 Census will be included in a government White Paper later this year," an ONS spokesperson said.

The ONS had raised concerns over the issue of "public acceptability" and whether the move would have backing across Britain's 430,000-strong Sikh community.

In the last census in 2011, an estimated 83,000 Sikhs reportedly refused to tick any of the choices in the question on ethnicity, rejecting options such as Indian in order to write "Sikh" in the space for "any other ethnic group".

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, chaired by Preet Kaur Gill — the UK's first female Sikh MP — offered to write to gurdwaras about five months ago. "Overwhelmingly they have said yes. Not a single gurdwara has opposed it," said Gill.

However, there are others who are not entirely behind the campaign, with some groups pointing out that being Sikh is a choice, not something you belong to at birth.

Updated Date: Jul 23, 2018 16:55 PM

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