February 26, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK (February 26, 2014): It is learnt that following the recent revelations regarding the 1984 attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Tan Dhesi, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Gravesham wrote to party leader, Ed Miliband expressing his concern, and asked for Mr Miliband’s support for an independent inquiry into the extent of the then Thatcher government’s involvement in the attack.
Mr Miliband replied and said that while he welcomed the Foreign Secretary’s report to the House of Commons, serious questions remained unanswered, and asked for the publication of all relevant documents relating to the 1984 attack.
“Labour MPs have been at the forefront of the demands for the government to look into the matters arising from the publication of official communications in 1984. The foreign secretary has now reported back to the House of Commons. The cabinet secretary must also respond to whether he believes, as I do, that there might be grounds for a full inquiry covering a longer period, given the concerns that the investigation seemed to be covering only the first part of 1984,” Miliband said.
Tan Dhesi’s Letter To Ed Miliband
14 January 2014
You will no doubt be aware of the news yesterday about the Thatcher government’s involvement in the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar). Labour MP Tom Watson was instrumental in bringing this sad fact to the British public’s attention. He, along with other MPs, has since demanded a further probe into the matter.
As a British Sikh, I feel very strongly about this issue and was shocked to hear that Margaret Thatcher had got our nation involved with a pre-planned attack on the most sacred shrine within the Sikh faith. In fact, my views on this issue are a matter of record, which you may view from my Facebook (‘Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi’) and Twitter (@Tan4MP) profiles:
“Absolutely appalled to learn about Thatcher Govt involvement in 1984 attack on Golden Temple. Well done @tom_watson for bringing it to fore.” 13 January
“Let’s hope this govt doesn’t brush Thatcher Govt role in 1984 attack against the Sikhs under the carpet. We need a full independent enquiry.” 13 January
Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that there will be an enquiry. We certainly do need one, but it must be thorough and INDEPENDENT, with full disclosure to establish the facts. Given that Thatcher is the idol and hero for many (including David Cameron) within the current Conservative-led government, I feel that it may be wishful thinking that we will get to the heart of the matter.
Like some parliamentarians, several Sikh individuals and organisations have also demanded a detailed enquiry. However, with all due respect, the Sikhs constitute a small minority and their legitimate demands for justice elsewhere in the world have previously not proved fruitful. Hence, I feel it requires your direct intervention. With the considerable national influence and persistence of the Labour Party, under your leadership, I believe we can expose and disclose the full extent of the involvement.
I am proud to be a member of our party and its philosophy of equality and social justice for all. Indeed, it is one of the key reasons for my passionate work within our party and our British community. That is why I am sure, as our party leader, you will assist and take the lead to deliver justice. Please consider my humble request at your earliest convenience.
Assuring you of my best intentions,
Ed Miliband’s Response to Tan Dhesi:
10 February 2014
Thank you for your letter on the important issue of Amritsar and 1984. I know this is a matter of deep concern among many of your constituents, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting with you during my visit to the Gravesend Gurdwara a couple of years ago.
The pain and suffering still felt by many about the tragic events of 1984 places a particular duty on the Government to provide what answers it can to address these very genuine concerns.
As you will be aware, Labour Members of Parliament have been at the forefront of the demands for the Government to look into the matters arising from the publication of official communications in 1984. The Foreign Secretary has now reported back to the House of Commons.
While we welcome what light the Cabinet Secretary’s report shed on the allegations of British involvement in ‘Operation Blue Star’, despite the publication of this report, serious questions remain.
The Government must accept our call to make public all relevant documentation relating to the incident that can be, so that we can have transparency on this important issue.
The Cabinet Secretary must also respond to whether he believes, as I do, that there might be grounds for a full inquiry covering a longer period, given the concerns that the investigation seemed to be covering only the first part of 1984.
Thank you for your letter and for your on-going support and hard work as our Parliamentary Candidate in Gravesham. I hope to meet with you again soon where we can discuss the sad events of 1984 and more widely your work in Gravesham.
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP
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