Latest News:

Over Seas » Sikh News

Thousands of UK Sikhs Mark 40 Years of June 1984; Hold Freedom Rally in London

June 17, 2024 | By

London: Thousands of Sikhs on Sunday (16th June 2024) marked the 40th anniversary of the June 1984 Sikh Genocide by marching through London and holding a Freedom Rally in Trafalgar Square.  The first march and rally took place in London 40 years ago on 10 June 1984.

Those gathered in Trafalgar Square were told UK government papers released after more than 30 years showed how the Indian High Commissioner based in London urged Home Office Minister, Douglas Hurd on 7 June 1984 to arrest and intern around 200 Presidents of all UK Gurdwaras to sabotage the first protest.  Special Branch told Home Office Ministers this was not possible.  

The Indian Foreign Secretary then suggested to the British High Commissioner in Delhi the next day on 8 June 1984 that Sikh protesters in London could be shot dead.  The British High Commissioner in Delhi set this out in a telex to the Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe.

The 40th anniversary event in London comes less than three weeks before the General Election and assurances have been given by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy and Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary that a Labour Government that is expected to be elected on 4 July will launch later this year an independent judge-led public inquiry into the 1984 British Government involvement in the June 1984 massacre and anti-Sikh measures by Margaret Thatcher against British Sikhs at the request of the Indian authorities in the 1980s when she was in office (1979-1990), notes a release by Sikh Federation UK.

The other important backdrop to the 40th Anniversary event has been the recent transnational repression by the Indian Government targeting Sikh activists in the Diaspora. Saturday marked the first anniversary of the mysterious death of 35-year old Avtar Singh Khanda in the UK.  The lawyer acting for the family is pushing for an inquest and public inquiry into his death, the release notes.

“A year later the number of questions that remain unanswered have increased about the muzzling by the UK Government of British intelligence officers who started last September to indicate foul play, the botched police investigation by the West Midlands Police, the incompetence of the coroner who failed to carry out an autopsy and blocked a private autopsy and what is increasingly looking like a cover up by the UK Government”, it reads further.

Avtar Singh Khanda’s mysteriously death came three days before the high profile assassination of Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside the Gurdwara where he was President in Surrey BC.   A few weeks later in early July India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) told Indian TV they had killed three Sikhs in six weeks, including Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Avtar Singh Khanda and the NIA produced a hit-list of 20 other Sikhs, but the authorities failed to take appropriate actions, the release states.   

On 6 June 2024 Sikh representatives met Craig Guildford the Chief Constable for the West Midlands Police in a follow up meeting (the previous meeting was 22 February 2024), but the meetings have demonstrated to Sikh representatives the police failed to properly investigate Avtar Singh Khanda’s death. This indicates negligence and incompetence or something far more sinister of deliberately failing to investigate and take action on the death threats he was receiving and claims on Indian television by the NIA that they had killed Avtar Singh Khanda.   

Everything changed in Canada when the US provided specific intelligence and Justin Trudeau, stood up in the Canadian Parliament on 18 September last year and dramatically said there was credible intelligence of Indian government involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh leader on Canadian soil.  This public accusation resulted in a massive deterioration in relations between Canada and India, but also coincided with British intelligence officers telling British media sources there had been foul play with regards to Avtar Singh Khanda.  

“The transnational repression targeting Sikhs in western countries has created considerable interest in Sikhs campaigning to re-establish their homeland.  Matters have become increasingly complicated for the Indian Government by the 4 June election in Panjab of Bhai Amritpal Singh as an MP in a landslide victory. He is a strong advocate for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland and has been in an Indian jail in Assam for over a year awaiting trial.  He was a close associate of Avtar Singh Khanda”, reads the release.

The other independent person elected last week in Punjab was Sarabjit Singh Khalsa, the son of Beant Singh, the bodyguard for Indira Gandhi who killed her on 31 October 1984 for ordering the Indian army to attack the Sikhs’ holiest shrine on UK advice.  Beant Singh was extrajudicially murdered minutes after he put down his arms and was arrested.  Beant Singh’s wife and father after being released from prison were elected in 1989. The elections 35 years later demonstrate Sikhs calling for freedom is very much alive in Punjab today. Jaswinder Singh, the younger brother of Sarabjit Singh Khalsa especially travelled from Australia to be at the Freedom Rally earlier today.    

Dabinderjit Singh, the Principal Adviser of the Sikh Federation (UK) told media gathered:

“40 years after the Sikh Genocide it is clear Sikhs will never get justice in India.  The re-establishment of a Sikh homeland illegally annexed by Britain in 1849 is the only solution.”

“The election of Bhai Amritpal Singh and Sarabjit Singh Khalsa in Panjab, where most Sikhs live, exactly 40 years after the June 1984 massacre has demonstrated the freedom movement in the Sikh homeland is very much alive today and can no longer be denied.” 

“Sikhs are a sovereign people and confident of winning the hearts and minds of the public and Governments across the globe to understand and support the legitimate Sikh struggle for freedom and independence.” 

“Despite the Indian government’s propaganda and pressure on governments to curtail the activities of Sikh activists, transnational repression targeting Sikhs in the Diaspora is blowing up in their faces”, he said.

“We are convinced there has been a cover up by the UK Government led by Rishi Sunak who was desperate for a trade deal with India”, he added.

Davinderjit Singh said: “Sunak has bent over backwards to appease India and shown his personal prejudice by falsely demonising British Sikhs as he could not afford the same sort of fall out with India as Canada over the activities of the Indian government on UK soil, including the death of Avtar Singh Khanda.”   

“An incoming Labour Government has an opportunity to stand with British Sikhs or continue to sell us out. We believe there are enough good people with principles within the Labour leadership who will have the strength and courage to stand with us”, he added.



To Get Sikh Siyasat News Alerts via WhatsApp:

(1) Save Our WhatsApp Number 0091-855-606-7689 to your phone contacts; and
(2) Send us Your Name via WhatsApp. Click Here to Send WhatsApp Message Now.

Sikh Siyasat is on Telegram Now. Subscribe to our Telegram Channel

Related Topics: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply