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Letter to UK Foreign secretary William Hague by MP Tom Watson on recent disclosures of British link to June 1984 attack

January 16, 2014 | By

British Lawmaker Tom Watson has reportedly written a letter to UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague about recent disclosures showing British involvement in planning of June 1984 armed attack on Darbar Sahib by Indian army. The text of letter reads as follows:

The Rt Hon William Hague MP

Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street

14 January 2014

Dear Mr Hague

I have recently viewed facsimile copies of correspondence allegedly concerning the UK’s involvement in the raid on the Golden Temple in 1984. These documents are part of the PREM 19/1273 series and have apparently been released under the 30 year rule on disclosure of government papers.

If the documents are authentic, it shows that Britain secretly provided planning advice to India’s military in the build up to the raid on the Golden Temple, Amritsar in 1984. Please confirm whether the enclosed documents are indeed official government records.

As you know, the events of that time led to thousands of innocent Sikhs losing their lives. There were many documented human rights abuses, many still the subject of investigation. It is, therefore, not unreasonable for British Sikhs, all of whom know someone who was affected by these events, to have some answers.

I urge you to clarify, as soon as possible, whether there are other documents withheld by the government on this matter, on what grounds and by which departments. It seems inconceivable that there would not be further correspondence that has been retained, which details the UK’s involvement in the run up to the raid on the Golden Temple, in addition to the enclosures.

Parliament has the right to know where military operatives were deployed and there should be full disclosure of the facts surrounding this case. I request that you give consideration to an urgent inquiry to establish what further records are held and to reveal the UK’s precise involvement in this affair.

Was the Cabinet informed? Which ministers took the decision to give military support? How many personnel were involved? Was there a UK military presence in a operational, logistical, observational or advisory capacity during the siege at Amritsar?

British Sikhs deserve answers.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Tom Watson

Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East

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