BOPIO is pleased to announce that the arrangements for its Conference on Social Cohesion (Saturday 3rd November, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 10.30a.m.–4.30p.m.) are now being finalised. A Government Minister, Members of Parliament and academics have accepted our invitation to attend. From this pool of potential speakers, the BOPIO Executive Council will be putting together a panel of informed speakers to get the conference underway. Those not selected to speak at the morning Plenary Session will be asked to contribute to the workshops in the afternoon.

 

All organisations affiliated to BOPIO and supporting the conference are requested to email information to their members. On indication of attendance, BOPIO will issue tickets of attendance which can then be sent out. We need to know not just the names of those attending but also whether they will be attending one or both sessions. It is important to notify any special dietary requirements so that an appropriate lunch can be organised.

 

Since we started planning this conference, many events have taken place in the world and a lot of the issues which were highlighted for inclusion in the conference during our early consultations are increasingly relevant. The growth of extremist sentiment among a growing sector of the population is a cause for great concern. This has been highlighted in recent research carried out at Nottingham University which clearly points in this direction, although a hopeful sign is that young people are the least affected. Further an international comparative study by the Pew Research Centre demonstrates that Britain is now one of the worst offenders for intolerance. This may have come as a surprise to many of us still basking in the afterglow of a successful Olympic Games which projected all that is good in Britain. Fortunately these extremist tendencies have not coalesced into a political movement as elsewhere in Europe, but the danger is ever present. As usual the frontline victims are visible minorities, but it won’t stop there.

 

It is now essential to address the problem and to be forewarned and prepared. We need to be vigilant, especially for our children and grandchildren, whether our families are recent immigrants or have been much longer established in the UK.

 

This conference will provide our political and community leaders with our views on the inherent dangers and we will be able to urge them to take pre-emptive action.

 

 

Final Remarks of the Conference :

 

 

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL 4.30 PM SATURDAY rd
NOVEMBER 2012
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SINNA MANI, CHAIR OF BOPIO:
FINAL REMARKS TO CONFERENCE
Saturday rd
November 2012 Goldsmiths University London
It has been my privilege not only to have founded BOPIO along with Paul Flather,
Ferdinand Rodrigues, Gautam Chakravarty, Lord Rana and many others but also it has
been a privilege to serve you since 1979 in one capacity or another.
Like most voluntary organisations we have had our high points and our low points. The
high points were two festivals in London to celebrate the Indian association with the UK
at Beckenham Palace Park and Blackheath with the generous support of the London
Borough of Lewisham; and our celebration in Wembley Complex, fifty years of India’s
independence. The former Prime Minister of India, V.P. Singh and the then chief minister
of the Punjab and various other personalities attended.
This festival lasted all week and we introduced the British public to Indian culture, arts
and business. Tata and Reliance were part of the festival. Unfortunately the event was
marred by corruption in India; our income stream was blocked and few members suffered
serious financial loss. Following that we were dormant for a while. We revived and we
continued to fight injustices in the field of immigration. We scored many a victory,
particularly at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where it was decided
in favour of our petition, that the ‘Primary purpose rule’ was illegal; it was asking the
impossible i.e. to prove the negative.
We also had a successful campaign on behalf of Kamlesh Bhal the former head of the
Women’s Commission and subsequent Vice President of the Law Society. This resulted in
the former president of Law Society being arrested for conspiracy (unheard of event)
against Kamalesh Bhal. We still do not know the outcome of the case even now after
eight years. Unfortunately the Hindu extremists in London got very worried about the
amount of publicity and attention in London that we received. They advised her that her
case would be better pursued by the Hindu organisations and this resulted in the
campaign collapsing because all the other groups involved walked away. Under our
leadership all sections of the community were united in defence of her interests. This left
Kamalesh in a vulnerable position. She subsequently lost a High Court appeal and
serious financial repercussions followed.
This brings me to my next point; I have a right to warn all in the absence of an
organisation like BOPIO Hindu extremists trading under innocent names like the ‘World
Council of Hindus and Seva have become de facto leaders of the Indian communities,

 

 

paralleled by similar developments in the Muslim communities reacting to perceived
threats both external and internal.
This is very dangerous for British Society and we intend to combat this as best we can.
British political parties for electoral and opportunistic reasons tend to lean on these
groups to mobilise votes for elections. Would they associate themselves with the National
Party to gain some marginal votes? I think that the answer is a resounding no. So why
should they associate with the Hindu extremists? Hindu Muslim unity in this country as
well as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan is fundamental to the harmonious development of
these countries.
We intend to hold similar conferences in the next six months in various parts of the UK.
You will be notified of them as and when they occur.
I wish you all a safe return home and I thank you for taking part in the conference.
Note to the editor:
Sinna Mani has been a human rights activist for nearly sixty years – mostly spent in this
country. He was Mayor of the London Borough of Lewisham at one stage. He initiated a
lot of change in practices at the council during his time and he has been active in
financial sector; most notably IMRO, which was later, incorporated into the FSA.
He won awards for his human rights work in India. He played a significant role in the last
election of President Obama and he still supports his candidature, albeit with some
reservations. He is part of a network called Transatlantic Dialogue on Strategic
Management of Public Organisations. He has been a teacher of public finance in this
country and in the United States. He is a popular guest speaker at meetings organised by
civil rights groups in the US.
.
He is a keen student of Middle Eastern politics and blogs about Iran, Egypt, and Israel, a
country that he visited recently twice. He is a strong supporter of the right of Palestinians
to their own state. He has organised a meeting under the chairmanship of Lord Patel in a
House of Lords committee room to bring to the notice of the members of parliament and
others the suffering of the Palestinian people.
End