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Declassification exposes Margaret Thatcher’s bias against Sikhs; Pressure mounts for Independent Public inquiry

June 23, 2015 | By

London, UK: More declassified papers from 1985 show Margaret Thatcher held a very one-sided view of Sikhs in the UK.

As further revelations emerge it shows selling arms to India and breaking India’s link with the Soviet Union was critical to Margaret Thatcher and she was heavily influenced by pressure and misinformation from India that was trying to hide its Genocide of the Sikhs.

In a meeting in Moscow on 13 March 1985 Charles Powell (now a Conservative member in the House of Lords), the private secretary to Margaret Thatcher records that she told Pakistan President, Zia-ul-Haq that ‘Britain’s problems with India’ stemmed from the activities of Sikhs in the UK.

Margaret Thatcher (L) and Indira Gandhi (R)

Margaret Thatcher (L) and Indira Gandhi (R)

Similarly the Pakistan President showed he was also under considerable pressure regarding the trial of Sikh hijackers describing them as ‘an irritant in India/Pakistan relations’.

What has been glossed over is young Sikhs (mainly from outside Punjab) hijacked a plane in July 1984 in protest against the attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib (often referred to as the Golden Temple Complex) and the army actions aimed as Sikh the elimination of tens of thousands of Sikh youth throughout Punjab. In January 1986 a court in Lahore sentenced three of the Sikhs to death and seven Sikhs were given life imprisonment.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK)

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) [File Photo]

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: ‘These revelations will keep coming and the British public and the law-abiding British Sikh community deserve to know the truth as to why British Sikhs were demonised. It is now clear India interfered in our right to protest and highlight atrocities in India after pressure from India following the Genocide of Sikhs in 1984.’

‘Sikhs in the UK were and probably continue to be falsely portrayed in a negative light by India. After over a decade of pressure and lobbying we believe the current UK government and politicians in general are not like predecessor governments and politicians from 30 years ago and they know and appreciate the positive contribution and value of Sikhs in the UK.’
‘The Indian High Commission in London has made clear it strongly resents any criticism from the UK Government and UK politicians, but India needs to accept British Sikhs have every right to ask its own government and politicians they elect to raise matters that India does not want aired.’

‘Trade with India is important to the UK Government, but this should not stop the UK Government from being critical over the lack of justice for the minority Sikh community.’

‘The demands for an independent public inquiry into UK Government assistance to attack the Sikhs’ holiest of holy places in June 1984 will continue to increase with every new revelation.’

The scale to which British Sikhs have been demonised by India and how India has been instrumental in only allowing Sikhs that are silent on India’s human rights record from having the ear of the UK Government is increasingly coming to the fore.’

‘Until recently India has been successful is pressuring the UK Government not to have regular dialogue with Sikhs demanding greater rights, including an independent Sikh state. However, times are quickly changing and even India has realised opposition and exposure will not stop and the UK Government and India itself has no choice but to engage and negotiate with Sikhs about their legitimate claims.’

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