Leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Bernard Corbyn has assured the Indian origin Sikh community people that he will investigate the alleged involvement of the British Army in ‘Operation Blue Star‘, if he comes to power.
It was an Indian military operation that took place on June 1-8, 1984, ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in order to establish control over the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar, Punjab, and remove militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the complex buildings.
Speaking at an event organised by the Sikh Federation UK earlier this week, the Leader of the Opposition said that his party included this demand by some British Sikh groups as a manifesto pledge.
According to a document published by National Archives in January 2014, then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had sent a SAS officer to India to give advice to the Gandhi government, as New Delhi planned to remove militants from the Sikh shrine in Amritsar. The declassified document said that the officer visited the Golden Temple and advised the Indian government to bombard the shrine. The Sikh community people have always wanted the British government to investigate the incident. And now, Corbyn has made the announcement in order to appease them.
Immediately after the publication of the document, former British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered his Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to investigate whether the Thatcher administration had sent an SAS officer to India. The Heywood Review verified the exact nature of British involvement and came to the conclusion that the Indian Army didn’t follow the SAS officer’s advice. Later, the British media reported that several ‘top secret’ documents of the British Defence Ministry regarding the Operation Blue Star were destroyed in November 2009. According to political experts, the British government actually tried to ‘cover up’ its role in Amritsar massacre in India.
More than three decades after the incident, Labour Party leader Corbyn demands fresh probe into Britain’s alleged role in it. The top Indian diplomats are of the opinion that Corbyn’s proposed move would have a negative impact on the Indo-British ties in the coming years and that would not be ‘good’ for ‘post-Brexit’ Britain.
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