London: Accusing two British Army guards of racially discriminating against them at Windsor Castle, a Sikh family has threatened to take legal action against the UK government.
Rapinder Kaur, 36, said she, her turban-wearing husband and their two-year-old child were subjected to racial taunts by guards during a visit to the castle last year, The Independent reported.
She said that as the family were walking alongside the castle’s wall, two soldiers standing in a palace window made inappropriate “We are watching you” gestures while laughing and showing them the middle finger. According to the report, the family then complained to the Royal Collection Trust, which operates the palace, and the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which bears responsibility for the guards.
But the family said that all they have received is an email apology from a top-ranking lieutenant, and guidance that the soldiers would receive refresher training.
“The claimant believes that the sole reason for being targeted and singled out by the soldiers was because of their skin colour and the fact that her husband was wearing a turban,” a letter sent from the family’s solicitors to the Government Legal Department in January 2022 read.
It further said that Rapinder Kaur’s family members were the only non-white people there. In a reply in June 2002, the government’s lawyers denied any knowledge of the incident and stated that the lieutenant’s apology was “not an admission of liability”.”
“It is disappointing (that) the Government Legal Department has denied any record of this incident. First, the lieutenant who investigated the incident apologised, but then the Government Legal Department denied it happened, asking me to prove it. Why apologise at all if there was nothing to apologise for?” Rapinder Kaur told The Independent.
“I feel that there is a level of protection afforded to individuals within certain institutions, which does not apply to people like us, minorities,” she rued.
This comes as King Charles III visited a gurdwara in Luton, England, last month, and had a wholesome interaction with community leaders, volunteers, and students of Sikh community.
Respecting Sikh traditions, the 74-year-old monarch covered his head with a kerchief, offered prayers, and sat on the floor with Sikh devotees.