Hindu concept of Sewa drives me in my work every day: Priti Patel

Hindu concept of Sewa drives me in my work every day: Priti Patel
Courtesy: Ian Forsyth / Stringer | Getty Images News via Getty Images

“Our values embody service before self. This can be neatly defined by the Hindu word sewa, which can mean service, commitment and dedication to others.

“Ensuring the best interests of our country come first is what drives me each and every day. That is my responsibility. That is my service. That is our party.”

Cabinet minister Priti Patel used these words to explain the drive and motivation behind her crime-fighting work at the UK Home Office.

Addressing the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, the senior Gujarati-origin minister linked that drive to some of the tough decisions she has had to take, including clamping down on climate protesters behind major disruptions of some the country’s key motorways over the past few weeks.

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She explained: “And it is because of our commitment to putting the needs of the hardworking, often silent, majority first, that I will not tolerate so called ecowarriors, trampling over our way of life and draining police resources.

“Their actions over recent weeks have amounted to some of the most self-defeating ‘environmental’ protests this country has ever seen. Freedom to protest is a fundamental right our party will forever fight to uphold. But it must be within the law.”

Among a series of announcements during her speech this week, she confirmed an increase in the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway, criminalise interference with key infrastructure such as roads, railways and our free press, and give the police and courts new powers to deal with the small minority of offenders intent on travelling around the country, causing disruption and misery across our communities.

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In the wake of a serving Scotland Yard officer being sentenced recently for the rape and murder of a 33-year-old Sarah Everard walking home at night in London, Patel also confirmed an inquiry to provide independent oversight to ensure mistakes are not repeated within the police force.

“I say this as Home Secretary, but also as a woman – such unconscionable crimes and acts of violence against women and girls have no place in our society. And that is why I have redoubled my efforts to ensure women and girls feel safer,” she said.

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