The Met celebrated Diwali at New Scotland Yard last week

12 November 2012

Commissioner with Swaras Fine Arts dance company

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and prominent Hindu community representatives came together at New Scotland Yard last week to celebrate Diwali.

MPS Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was welcomed by the chair of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association (MPHA), Satya Minhas, and was presented with a garland by Dr Raju Parmar, a spiritual leader and the MPS Hindu Chaplin, before giving a special Diwali message at the event held at New Scotland Yard on Thursday, 8 November.

Hindu community representatives including Lord Dholakia, Lord Sheikh and Lady Sheikh, Members of Parliament Seema Malhotra, Virendra Sharma and Shailesh Vara, joined together to discuss the significance of Diwali and reaffirmed their continued support for the MPS and MPHA in policing matters and recruitment initiatives.

A feast of vegetarian food was served to more than 120 guests, who were treated to a number of performances, including traditional dances from Swaras Fine Arts under the guidance of their artistic director Mrs Shamista Sivakumar.

Chair of the MPHA Satya Minhas said: "The evening was a great success and it was a joy to watch colleagues of all ages and backgrounds joining in the celebration.

"The Commissioner demonstrated his continued support by attending the event to join us celebrating the most important Hindu festival. I am very grateful to everyone who made it a truly enjoyable evening and for their ongoing support."

There are currently 1,600 Hindus working in the MPS. The MPHA has been playing an invaluable role since 2002 providing assistance to its members, promoting a better understanding of the Hindu faith, culture and traditions within the MPS and improving relations and confidence within the Hindu community. The majority of this work is done by the Chair, the Executive and the volunteers in their own time.

The MPHA regularly hold community engagement events delivering security awareness messages, including current burglary crime prevention advice as the nights get darker.

Membership of the association has grown to nearly 300 people including people from Christian, Islamic, Jain and Sikh faith groups.