Boris Johnson insults Sikh community by talking about alcohol in temple
Johnson, who was visiting the Nirman Sewak Jatha temple in Bristol, used alcohol as an example of the benefits that would come from a new trade deal between Britain and India.
The comments did not go down well for the Tory frontbencher, however, as alcohol is strictly forbidden under certain Sikh teachings.
“Whenever we go to India, to Mumbai or to Delhi, we have to bring ‘clinkie’ in our luggage,” Johnson is heard telling worshipers in a video by the Bristol Post.
“We have to bring Johnnie Walker, we have to bring whisky because, as you may know, there is a duty of 150 percent in India on imports of Scotch whisky, so we have to bring it in duty free for our relatives. But imagine what we could do if there was a free trade deal with India – which there will be.”
The footage shows a woman approaching the foreign secretary and telling him that alcohol is “against our religion.”
“I wouldn’t be wanting to put somebody in power who wants to put more alcohol in India, which is causing a lot of problems already,” she adds.
“When I heard that on the news, I thought ‘no way am I going to vote Tory’ because I don’t want alcohol. I’m a practicing Sikh. To me that is absolutely outrageous.”
BBC reporter Pete Simpson also tweeted that, at one point, the woman shouted out: “How dare you talk about alcohol in a Sikh temple?”
Johnson, whose mother-in-law is Sikh, apologized to the woman for the comments, but insisted “there are plenty of Sikhs who are good and practicing Sikhs who don’t take your attitude.”
Sikh Federation (UK) General Secretary Bhai Narinderjit Singh also criticized the former London mayor’s comments, while challenging the Brexiteer to introduce an independent public inquiry into the Sikh Genocide of 1984 – a topic that is featured in Labour’s election manifesto.
“To the best of my knowledge, [the subject] has been closed for some years,” Johnson replied.