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Memorial To Sikh Soldiers Killed In Conflict Backed By Government

Hundreds of thousands of Sikh soldiers saw active service during the First and Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts.

British Army Sikh

A new war memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of Sikh servicemen has been backed by the government.

Hundreds of thousands of Sikh soldiers saw active service during the First and Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts.

Labour MP Tan Dhesi led the campaign for the memorial in London.

The government will support Mr Dhesi in setting up a working group and finding a suitable location.

Once an appropriate site has been identified and a memorial agreed on, the government has agreed to provide funding towards the project as part of its work to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

More than 83,000 Sikh troops died and over 100,000 were injured during the two world wars.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: "The part played by Sikh servicemen really stands out - a contribution that's all the more remarkable when you consider that these brave men travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn't their own.

"We are indebted to all those servicemen who volunteered to serve and fought to defend the freedoms we enjoy today.

"That's why a Sikh war memorial in our nation's capital will honour their sacrifice and ensure that this part of our shared history is never forgotten."

Slough MP Mr Dhesi said: "A staggering £375,000 has already been pledged by 15 generous donors, donating £25,000 each.

"Hopefully with the announced 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 befitting central London location.

"It would have huge additional benefits for community cohesion and integration within our country - something which is very close to my heart."

Despite making up only 2% of the Indian population when the First World War broke out, Sikhs accounted for more than 20% 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.

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