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Labour Party asks PM Theresa May to clarify Britain’s role in 1984 Operation Blue Star

Labour party said that Britain's Sikh community deserves to know the truth in the wake of allegations by Sikh Federation that the UK Foreign Office had removed files with 'evidence' of British involvement in the operation.

By: PTI | London | Published: November 5, 2016 10:32 am
operation blue star, sikh riots, sikh riots 1984, operation blue star 1984, britain operation blue star 1984, theresa may, theresa may india, world news, indian express, anti sikh riot, 1984riot, anti siklh 1984, 1984 riot case, anti sikh riot case reopen, reopen 1984 riot, investigate 1984 riot, latest news, latest india news Sikhs fleeing the capital stranded at the New Delhi railway station on November 2 during 1984 riots in Delhi. (Express archive photo)

The UK’s Opposition Labour party has called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to “come clean” about the role played by Britain in Operation Blue Star before her three-day visit to India starting from Sunday. Labour party Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, said on Friday
that Britain’s Sikh community deserves to know the truth in the wake of allegations by Sikh Federation UK that the UK Foreign Office had removed files with “new evidence” of British involvement in the military operation on Golden Temple in June 1984.

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“Before her visit to India, Theresa May must come clean about the role played by the UK in the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984 and subsequent events. There is increasing evidence that Margaret Thatcher’s administration worked more closely with the Indian government than was known at the time,” Watson said in a statement.

His statement followed claims that the Foreign Office had intentionally removed files referring to the possibility of the Special Air Services (SAS) unit of the British Army being involved after “an Indian request for military assistance in the setting up of a National Guard for internal security duties” during Operation Blue Star.

While the Foreign Office said it had merely “borrowed” the files, the Labour party said the fact the files exist raise important questions.
Watson added: “David Cameron’s previous inquiry failed to reveal the full facts and we now learn that vital new documents relating to the massacre have been removed from the National Archives by ministers. The revelation that these new documents exist suggest that Parliament may have been inadvertently misled by a former Foreign Secretary. “After over 30 years of demanding answers, Britain’s Sikh
community deserves to know the truth, no matter how embarrassing it is for the current government. After the failure of the Cabinet Secretary’s internal inquiry, there should be a full independent investigation into these matters.”

The Cabinet Secretary’s inquiry refers to an official UK government inquiry in 2014 into the exact nature of British involvement in the Indian Army operation at the Golden Temple. The inquiry had been ordered by then British Prime Minister David Cameron after documents released previously under the 30-year declassification rule had implied British SAS commanders had advised the Indian government as it drew up plans for the removal of militants from Golden Temple.

“The report concludes that the nature of the UK’s assistance was purely advisory, limited and provided to the Indian government at an early stage in their planning,” William Hague, then UK foreign secretary, had told the House of Commons in February 2014. Sikh Federation UK claims the latest note it found, marked confidential, was written on July 3, 1984, a month after the operation, which points to a more prominent British role.

The note was written by a civil servant in the Foreign Office’s South Asia department and copied to Ministry of Defence officials and the high commissioner in Delhi. Earlier on Friday, their lawyers wrote to UK home secretary Amber Rudd demanding an “independent investigation”. “The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) borrowed some of their files from 1984 that were released to the National
Archives so they could read the content following concerns raised by the Sikh Federation. They will return all the files in full shortly,” a UK government spokesperson said.

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  1. S
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:27 am
    Tom watson Is labour mp Of west bromwich in birmingham A shiate basically Full of third world Immigrants many from the punjab.For him to rake up rubbish like this about an event That took place Over 30 years ago shows the mans a Liberal left wing Chancer Talking Out of His fat and its big enough.Every educated person knows the british govt May have given the Indian govt some tips On How to carry it out But nothing more.
    1. m
      Nov 7, 2016 at 10:34 am
      Had British special Forces Carried out this operation They would have cleaned Up with deadly precision without loss of life to innocent Worshipers.Britain Has faced its own terrorism during the irish troubles which took many innocent Lives during the 1980s-early 1990s.