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Anger Over British 'Collusion' Reports In 1984 Amritsar Raid

posted 14 Jan 2014, 03:01 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 14 Jan 2014, 03:02 ]

Sikhs demand a probe into reports that the British government colluded with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, when Indian security forces entered the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple in 1984, to flush out militants.

AMRITSAR, PUNJAB, INDIA (JANUARY 14, 2014) (ANI) - Sikh organisations on Tuesday (January 14) demanded a thorough enquiry into reports that the British government colluded with former Prime MinisterIndira Gandhi over Operation Blue Star, when Indian security forces entered the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple in 1984, to flush out militants.

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A lawmaker from Britain's Labour party says that he has seen documents which suggest then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's administration dispatched Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) officers to help Indira Gandhi in the storming of theGolden Temple.

The 'Stop Deportations' website quotes from the documents which were made public by the National Archives in London under the 30-year rule as part of a series over the New Year.

Operation Blue Star was an Indian military operation which was ordered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in order to remove Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the Golden Temple in Amritsar city.

President of the leading Sikh religious organisation, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Avtar Singh slammed the Indian government for taking help from British government in attacking its own people.

"Their governments also run by taking religion as a base and if they have done so, if they have helped our government in attacking our people, then they have committed the biggest crime," said Singh.

The military raid was an explosive issue for Sikhs across the world and the increased tension following the action led to assaults on members of the Sikh community within India.

India's government said around 400 people were killed in the military operation, that took place over several days. However, Sikh groups put the death toll in the thousands, including many Sikh pilgrims.

The raid also led to a deep resentment among the Sikhs over the armed attack on their most revered Shrine and also widened a growing chasm between the members of Hindu and Sikh communities.

Indian lawmaker and Sikh rights activist, Tarlochan Singh called for an urgent enquiry into the British government's involvement in the events of 1984.

"Now this time British intervening in the attack at Golden Temple, this is a slur on our autonomy and I request that there should be a thorough probe by India and everybody should know that what happened at what time, and how the Golden Temple attack, was it a vote bank policy, was it something, another sinister move? So, I demand full enquiry at all levels," he said.

Five months after Operation Bluestar, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards, triggering a further wave of retaliation in which nearly 1,000 Sikhs were killed.

In the year when Sikhs commemorate their role in the centenary of World War I and mourn for loved ones lost in the events of 1984, this latest revelation will be disheartening.

Indian lawmaker, Mohammad Adeeb urged the government to get to the root of the problem.

"This is very dangerous news, if there is an iota of truth in it. Then we should look deeper into it across party line, that if outside help has been taken to kill and to commit atrocities on our own people, then it is extremely shameful. Instead of playing politics, we should go into the root of the matter," said Adeeb.

Retired Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, had spearheaded Operation Blue Star, a military raid against Sikh separatists in the Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1984 in which 1,000 people are estimated to have died.

In September 2012 Brar was attacked by a gang and slashed in the neck as he was walking with his wife near the busy Oxford Street shopping area during a holiday in Britain.