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Online Petition Seeks Independent investigation into UK government assistance during the 1984 Sikh Genocide

November 9, 2016 | By

London: The British Sikh diaspora is demanding an independent inquiry in the assistance given by the then Margret Thatcher’s Government to the Indian State on executing the army attack on Darbar  Sahab in June 1984. An online petition introduced by Sikh Federation UK demands “about the full extent of the SAS role played in the Sikh Genocide in the 1980s”.

UK's Top Secret documents declassified under 30 years rule revealed British government's role in June 1984 attack [File Photo]

UK’s Top Secret documents declassified under 30 years rule revealed British government’s role in June 1984 attack [File Photo]

The full text of the petition reads as follows:

Britain’s Sikh community deserves to know the truth, no matter how embarrassing it is for the current government

On the eve of Theresa May’s critical trade visit to India she is being pressured to come clean about the full extent of the SAS role played in the Sikh Genocide in the 1980s. There is increasing evidence that Margaret Thatcher’s administration worked more closely with the Indian government than was known at the time. David Cameron’s previous inquiry failed to reveal the full facts and now documents have been removed from the National Archives by FCO Ministers.

The note from 3 July 1984 the Sikh Federation (UK) has unearthed will probably be described as an ‘inadvertent’ disclosure, but it strongly suggests Parliament was misled by the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague in February 2014 as SAS military assistance to India appears to have continued immediately following the Sikh Genocide in Amritsar in June 1984.

Lord Hague should clarify if he and David Cameron agreed to deliberately mislead Parliament or were they given inaccurate information by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. Either way it is now clear the internal review by Heywood commissioned by David Cameron in January 2014 was inadequate and the content and conclusions presented to Parliament inaccurate and misleading.

The revelation that these new documents exist suggest that Parliament was misled by William Hague and it has been provided inaccurate information. The Cabinet Secretary’s internal inquiry failed to get to the truth therefore there should be a full independent investigation into these matters.

The Sikh Federation (UK) researcher has identified 41 files on India from 1984 that the FCO refuses to release after 32 years. This includes file FCO 37/3663 with the title: ‘Indian National Security Guard’. The mere existence of a file that the FCO refuses to release combined with the confidential note dated 3 July 1984 the researcher has found suggests the SAS was almost certainly involved in providing advice in the immediate aftermath of the Sikh Genocide in June 1984 in setting up the National Security Guard (NSG). The NSG was formed in July 1984 and its official website states that “The NSG was modelled on the pattern of the SAS”. The unit went on to lead Operations Black Thunder I and II, which consisted of further assaults on the Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1986 and 1988. The NSG also lead further assaults in Punjab such as Operation Black Hawk, a heliborne operation in 1988, and Operation Mouse Trap in 1989.

The researcher also found 39 other files released relating to India from 1984 where the FCO has permanently withheld part of the file. For example, including messages between Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi on file FCO 37/3694, telegrams dated 27/4/1984 and 30/4/1984 on file FCO 37/3638 titled ‘Foreign policy of India’ and several files relating to defence sales including the ‘Sale of Sea King and Westland W30 helicopters to India’ (FCO 37/3667) and the ‘Proposed sale of light combat aircraft to India’ (FCO 37/3677).

In February 2014 the Sikh Federation (UK) was also dismayed David Cameron and William Hague refused to meet and release the UK military adviser’s visit report and assessment he gave to the Indian authorities from February 1984 that Heywood stated in his report that he had examined, if they had nothing embarrassing to hide.

Theresa May could make this disclosure demonstrating greater transparency now David Cameron and Lord Hague have moved on, concerns now raised about the integrity of Heywood’s review and India-FCO files being hastily removed from the National Archives by the FCO. The Sikh community may however only be able to get to the truth through a full independent investigation as records may continue to indefinitely remain undisclosed under exemptions allowed in the Public Records Act or Freedom of Information rules.

The Sikh Federation (UK) has been working closely with human rights legal specialists KRW LAW on the matter and they have written to the Home Secretary on our behalf, outlining our demands. You can view this letter at …


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