Tributes pour in at UK’s first Sikh peer Tarsem King's funeral

India News Bulletin Desk
UK's first Sikh Peer Lord Tarsem King is seen here (extreme right) at a European conference on human rights in 2012. He died on Jan 9
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of politicians and dignitaries came to pay tribute to Tarsem King, the UK’s first Sikh peer at his funeral at Sandwell Valley Crematorium. The Indian-born Labour party politician died of a sudden heart attack on Wednesday, March 9 at the age of 75 at London’s Euston station.

Lord King of West Bromwich, Tarsem King was the only Sikh representation that Labour had in the UK and the European Parliament.

For his funeral on Thursday, January 17, the lane where Lord King lived -- Roebuck Lane -- was closed off as politicians, dignitaries and friends came to pay their respects.

On January 9, Lord King collapsed at Euston station while he was about to go back to the Midlands from the House of Lords. He was rushed to the hospital but died of a suspected heart attack.

Among those who attended his funeral were Labour MP Keith Vaz, current Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper, Sandwell's deputy council leader Mahboob Hussain and MP Tom Watson.

Vaz was heard saying that Lord King was "the role model for every Asian politician" and represented "the end of the great pioneers who came with nothing and left with much", the BBC has reported.

Lord King had come to the UK from India when he was in his 20s with very little money in his pockets but carved his niche in British politics.

Lord King’s most notable roles within British politics began in 1979 when he became the councillor on Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. He led the council until 2007. After retiring from his council roles, he became the Treasurer of the All-party parliamentary group on India.

He was also a deputy mayor between 1982 and 1983. He was also a patron of the Universal Peace Federation and the president of the Black Country Housing and Community Services Group.

The chapel was full for Tarsem King’s funeral and some of those who came had to watch the service on the screens outside.

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