Elham Asaad Buaras
The charity regulator is to investigate whether a Hindu umbrella group has breached political neutrality regulations after it seemingly endorsed the Conservatives during the general elections.
On May 2, the National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT), published an open letter “to all members of the dharmic faiths” (Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism) opposing an amendment to the Equality Act endorsed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats which would ban discrimination on grounds of caste.
The letter, signed by NCHT General Secretary, Satish K Sharma, says: “On the basis of a sequence of acts of religious persecution of British Hindus, detailed below, by the Parliamentary Labour Party, we confirm that we wholly understand and agree with the sentiment recently expressed by one of our younger volunteers, who stated that ‘British Hindus, Sikhs and Jains voting for Labour is now like turkeys voting for Christmas’.”
The letter said that the legislation was introduced without consultation with the targeted religious minority, which was “tantamount to religious persecution of Hindus, Sikhs & Jains and is in breach of the human rights of the minority Dharmic communities”. It also noted that the proposed law had been “instigated, supported and sustained” by Labour and Liberal Democrats.
The letter insists that it “is not a recommendation for members of the Dharmic communities to vote for a particular party but it would be unfair not to recognise that the Conservative party is the only principal party which has rejected the process whereby this legislation was forced thru [sic].”
Although charities can lobby political parties, the regulation issued by the Charity Commission guidance states that they cannot legally give their support to any party and must be seen as independent.