19/10/2015 11:26 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Sikh TV Panelist Interjects BBC Show To Protest Channel's Silence On Punjab Unrest

A discussion on the tension between religion and inter-faith marriages in Britain on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live show concluded in a kerfuffle involving British Sikh, Jagmeet Singh, and the show's host Sian Williams.

Jagmeet Singh, who represents the religious organisation Basics of Sikhi, appeared on Sunday Morning Live to talk about inter-faith marriages in the UK but, towards the end of the segment attempted to bring up the issue of recent violence in Punjab, that has killed two and injured at least 70 and forced three politicians to quit their party posts. Violence erupted after reports of the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, being desecrated spread around the state leading to protests.

According to the International Business Times, Singh, a representative from the charity Basics of Sikhi, obstructed the camera's view of Williams, saying: "I have to say Sikhs are being killed in Punjab and nobody is reporting it. Please report it." When Singh persisted with his comments, Williams appeared miffed and threatened to have him removed from the show.

Singh's on-air protest comes as more than 75,000 people have signed a petition against the BBC, calling on them to end their "media blackout" on violence against Sikhs in India. Two Sikh men died last week when protesters clashed with police in the Punjab district of Kotkapura, and nearly 70 people were injured.

Protesters were demanding the arrest of those responsible for tearing hundreds of pages from the Sikh holy scripture and scattering them around the village of Bargari two days earlier.

A spokesperson for the Basics of Sikhi charity told IB Times: "[We are] so disappointed by the BBC's treatment of Jagmeet Singh on Sunday Morning Live. The presenter shut down Singh and repeatedly belittled him for bringing up the issue of violence against Sikhs in Punjab."

However, the BBC has defended Williams, saying she dealt with the "unplanned" incident "professionally and appropriately".

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