"my experiences have been people referring to me with the P-word"
Home Office figures have revealed that the number of anti-Sikh hate crimes reported across the UK has increased by 70% in just two years.
This has prompted calls for “urgent action” to tackle the problem.
MP Preet Kaur Gill said that the figures do not tell the whole story, as there is not a system in place which monitor hate crimes against Sikhs.
She told Sky News: “There are lots of concerns from the Sikh community that there is not enough being done to protect us.
“The community feels forgotten. There needs to be a definition, just like there is for antisemitism and Islamophobia, for anti-Sikh hate crimes.”
Ms Gill recalled times when she was a victim of a hate crime.
“Some of my experiences have been people referring to me with the P-word, you know the abbreviated version for Pakistani, that’s despite me being a Sikh.
“This has become so normal for so many, especially my generation who grew up in schools. It was actually the norm to be referred to in that manner.”
Government figures show 117 hate crimes were recorded against Sikhs in 2017-18 compared to 202 in 2019-20.
In February 2019, Dabinderjit Singh was targeted because of his beard and turban.
He said: “A man came up to me as I was about to cross the road, took a lighter, flicked the lighter and said various expletives and said I burn people like you.
“He then pointed to my beard and came about a metre closer, flicked the lighter again. I couldn’t believe it.”
Sikh people form the largest community of Indians in the UK
Teacher Ramneek Kaur was abused in the street due to her appearance when she moved to the UK in 2004.
She explained: “I wear my Indian outfit quite a lot and I remember I was on a very prominent high street of London where I got targeted and I was told to go back home.
“On another occasion, I was at Victoria station and someone became very aggressive towards me, pointing at me because I looked different because of my outfit. I was quite shocked.”
Despite the current climate, both Mr Singh and Ms Kaur said they are optimistic for the future.
A racially-motivated attack on a schoolboy in Telford caused outrage among the community.
Gurpreet Singh Anand, secretary-general of the Sikh Council UK, said it is crucial for people to report hate crime.
He said: “We are hearing a lot of concerns from the community – school children being bullied right up to elderly people getting attacked.
“We’re getting a lot of our organisations reporting worrying incidents, but I am urging people who have been victims to come forward.”
A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs found the lack of an official term or definition was a contributing factor to why this type of crime goes largely “unnoticed, unreported and unrecorded”.
It called for funding to help the reporting of hate crimes against Sikhs.