January 14, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK (January 14, 2014): According to media report the British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed his cabinet secretary to probe and establish the facts behind claims that Margaret Thatcher’s government had helped India plan June 1984 armed attack on Darbar Sahib.
Labour MP Tom Watson and Lord Indarjit Singh had demanded an explanation after recently declassified documents indicated that Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) officials had been dispatched to help India on the planning on the Indian army attack on Darbar Sahib (Amritsar, also called Golden Temple of Amritsar that left thousands dead. June 1984 attack had unearthed a series of events of events amounting to Sikh genocide of 1984.
“These events led to a tragic loss of life and we understand the very legitimate concerns that these papers will raise. The Prime Minister has asked the cabinet secretary to look into this case urgently and establish the facts,” a UK government spokesperson said in a statement issued here yesterday night.
“The PM and the foreign secretary were unaware of these papers prior to publication. Any requests today for advice from foreign governments are always evaluated carefully with full ministerial oversight and appropriate legal advice,” he added.
The documents being referenced were released by the National Archives in London under the 30-year declassification rule as part of a series over the New Year.
A letter marked “top secret and personal” dated February 23, 1984 (copy available with the Sikh SIyasat News), nearly four months before the incident in Amritsar, titled ‘Sikh Community’, reads: “The Indian authorities recently sought British advice over a plan to remove Sikh extremists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar”.
“The foreign secretary decided to respond favourably to the Indian request and, with the Prime Minister’s agreement, an SAD (sic) officer has visited India and drawn up a plan which has been approved by Mrs Gandhi. The foreign secretary believes that the Indian government may put the plan into operation shortly.”
“These documents prove what Sikhs have suspected all along, that plans to invade the Golden Temple went back months even though the Indian government was claiming even weeks before that there were no such plans,” Lord Singh, also the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations in the UK, told.
“I have already approached the Indian government through the high commission of India for the need of an independent international enquiry to establish the exact facts. I will now raise the issue in the House of Lords,” he added.
Some of the documents have been reproduced on the ‘Stop Deportations’ blog which focuses on Britain’s immigration policy and claim Thatcher sent SAS officials to advise Mrs Gandhi on the operation.
“I’ve only seen the documents this morning (Monday) and am told there are others that have been withheld. This is not good enough. It is not unreasonable to ask for an explanation about the extent of British military collusion with the government of Indira Gandhi,” Watson, an MP for West Bromwich East, said.
He has written to UK foreign secretary William Hague and plans to raise the issue in the House of Commons.
“I think British Sikhs and all those concerned about human rights will want to know exactly the extent of Britain’s collusion with this period and this episode and will expect some answers from the foreign secretary”.
“But trying to hide what we did, not coming clean, I think would be a very grave error and I very much hope that the foreign secretary will…reveal the documents that exist and give us an explanation to the House of Commons and to the country about the role of Britain at that very difficult time for Sikhism and Sikhs,” he added.
Related Topics: 1984 Genocide Coalition, 1984 Sikh Genocide, David Cameron, Indian State, Indira Gandhi, June 1984 attack on Sikhs, Lord Inderjit Singh, Margaret Thatcher, Operation Blue Star, Sikhs in United Kingdom, Tom Watson, UK and June 1984 attack on Sikhs