Adoption racial bias: Sikh religious body SGPC urges Indian MEA to raise issue with UK govt

Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Golden Temple in Amritsar. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Sikh organisation that is responsible for managing religious rituals and gurdwaras, especially the Golden Temple in Amritsar, today strongly objected to the denial of adoption of a white child by a British Sikh couple in the United Kingdom (UK). The SGPC has urged Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to raise the issue with the UK government.

“It’s a case of racial discrimination and the SGPC condemns it. I request the foreign affairs ministry to take up the issue with the UK government, and help the NRI couple in adopting the child,” said Kirpal Singh Bandungar, president of the SGPC, the supreme religious body of Sikhs.

Sandeep and Reena Mander, a Sikh couple in the UK, has claimed that they were refused permission to adopt a white child because of their “cultural heritage” and told to adopt a child from India instead. They said they were refused by Adopt Berkshire, an agency run by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM).

They were allegedly told that, while in other respects they would be suitable adoptive parents, they could not apply because only white children were available for adoption and therefore white couples would be given priority.

The SGPC president said, “The SGPC has raised the racial discrimination issue in European and western countries many a time. It’s the duty of the Indian government to protect rights of NRIs in foreign countries. I appeal to Sushma Swaraj, foreign minister, to use her offices to resolve the issue, and help the Indian couple to fight this racial discrimination.”. He said the SGPC was ready to provide all help to the couple.