Hindu group made to remove Tory support letter in UK polls

Hindu group made to remove Tory support letter in UK polls

A representative body of British Hindus was forced to remove from its website an open letter in support of Prime Minister David Cameron led Conservative party in today's general election after the UK's charity regulator found that the post went against its guidance.

The National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT-UK), which claims to be the oldest umbrella organisation for an estimated 565,000 Hindus in Britain, had issued the letter on its website encouraging Hindus across the country to exercise their vote and implied that Tories, as the Conservatives are referred to, should be their preferred choice.

The Charity Commission, which regulates the conduct of charitable groups in Britain, stressed that the regulator's guidance "makes clear that a charity must not give its support to any political party or candidate".

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of the notice posted on the National Council of Hindu Temples' website and we contacted the charity to establish the facts of this matter and ask them to remove the post as a matter of urgency.

"We are aware that the post has subsequently been removed, and the trustees have responded to us. We are assessing the response to decide what action, if any, is required."

The letter undersigned by NCHT-UK general secretary Satish Sharma had made a reference to the Labour party's attempts at introducing anti-caste legislation in Parliament as the defining factor behind the choice of whom Hindus based in the country should vote for.

The group is opposed to the inclusion of caste within the criteria of discrimination in the UK's Equality Act, claiming the issue is not applicable in Britain and would "effectively introduce a caste system here in the UK".

Sharma's letter had pointed out that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged that if elected they would immediately introduce the legislation.

"This 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 through, and the Conservative Party is the only party which has consistently listened to us and voted against this legislation and whose members are committed to repealing the caste amendment if re-elected," read the letter, which has since been removed.

It also had a line which said that the group understands the sentiment expressed by a young volunteer that "British Hindus, Sikhs and Jains voting for Labour is now like Turkeys voting for Christmas."

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