Indian-origin activist receives Pride of Britain award


Jasvinder Sanghera, who fled from her home to escape from being forced into marriage at the age of 15, was given the award for her extraordinary achievements at a gala ceremony last night. Sanghera, came to Britain in 1950s from Punjab. She set up a charity foundation Karma Nirvana at Derby in 1993 to help the victims of forced marriage and honour-violence after her elder sister Robina committed suicide in 1983 to escape a forced marriage.

44-year-old Sanghera was instrumental in forcing the British government to take effective steps against forced marriages. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office now has a Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) which receives about 5,000 calls a year from victims. About 65 per cent of the cases the Unit deals with are Pakistani Muslims, 30 per cent are minors and 15 per cent are boys or men. Every year, the Unit helps bring back to Britain about 400 people trapped in forced marriages overseas.

Other recipients of the Pride of Britain Awards were 12-year-old Jake Peach, who battles leukaemia but helps to raise funds for fellow sufferers. MRI scanner inventor Sir Peter Mansfield, 75, received a Lifetime Achievement Award by Gordon Brown and wife Sarah. The Prime Minister told him: "There's not much better than winning a Nobel Prize, except a Pride of Britain award."

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