Labour pledges fresh inquiry into Thatcher’s role in 1984 Operation Blue Star

Labour pledges fresh inquiry into Thatcher's role in 1984 Operation Blue Star

LONDON: The Labour party, which is forecast to win the July 4 UK general election, has pledged to hold an inquiry to investigate the role Britain played in storming the Golden Temple in June 1984 to remove Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and other Sikh militants, which triggered the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the anti-Sikh riots.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Raynor said, “As we mark the 40th anniversary of the raid on the Golden Temple, Labour stands with the Sikh community in calling for an inquiry into the historic role Britain played. A Labour govt will work to determine the best way to find out the truth.”
Labour candidate for Coventry South Zarah Sultana said: “The role Thatcher’s govt played in this has been shrouded in secrecy. I stand with the Sikh community in calling for an inquiry to reveal the truth.” Labour candidate for Slough Tan Dhesi wrote on X: “40 years since Indira Gandhi ordered attack on Golden Temple complex…Still no justice for victims, nor UK inquiry (but Labour have promised) into Thatcher govt involvement!”
There has been no independent public inquiry into Margaret Thatcher’s involvement in Operation Blue Star, despite the release of classified documents in Jan 2014 implicating the UK govt.
Those files revealed that Britain had sent an SAS officer to India in Feb, ahead of Operation Blue Star, to draw up a plan to “remove Sikh extremists from the Golden temple”, having been asked to do so by Indira Gandhi.
The Heywood Review, commissioned by former PM David Cameron and published in Feb 2014, found no record of any UK assistance to the June 1984 operation other than the “limited military advice provided in mid-February”. The review, based on over 23,000 documents, said: “The recommendation and decision to agree this request were based on advice from the British high commission that it would be good for the bilateral relationship, whereas refusal would not be understood by Mrs Gandhi. There were significant differences between the actual June operation, and the advice from the UK military officer in Feb. The actual operation implemented by the Indian Army differed significantly from the approach suggested by the UK military officer.”
Many British Sikhs believe the Heywood Review is a whitewash and are calling for an independent judge-led public inquiry.

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