Mon, Jul 24, 2017 | updated 02:37 PM IST

Sikh campaigners seek release of UK files on 1984 Golden Temple assault

Updated: Dec 30, 2016 08:51 IST      
Sikh campaigners seek release of UK files on 1984 Golden Temple assault

London [United Kingdom], Dec.30 (ANI): Secret government files said to hold details of British involvement in the assault on the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine, in June 1984, that claimed the lives of hundreds of people, should be released to the public, campaigners have urged.

Members of the Sikh Federation believe the documents will show there was a greater level of cooperation between the British and Indian governments over the latter's attempts to clear militants from the Golden Temple in the summer of 1984 than has previously been acknowledged, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

According to the London-based newspaper, The Nation, they have launched an appeal to the information tribunal, due to be heard next year, to try to force through the release of the files under freedom of information laws, having been thwarted in their attempts thus far.

"The public has a right to know the truth about what happened 30 years ago. We believe these files are being held back - not for security reasons but for political reasons that would prove embarrassing to the Conservative Party, since it was Margaret Thatcher and her discussions with the Indian regime," said Davinder Singh, of the Sikh Federation.

The federation wants greater transparency over Britain's involvement in the Indian government's effort to drive Sikh militants seeking a separate homeland out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar - the religion's most holy site.

The Indian government has put the death toll from the action, named Operation Blue Star, at about 400 people, whereas Sikh groups say many more were killed - including pilgrims - when the then-prime minister, Indira Gandhi, sent in the troops. More than 100 Indian soldiers died.

Whitehall correspondence released in 2014 said an SAS officer had been asked to plan an operation to remove militants from the temple. That plan was then approved by Gandhi, the letter said. But an inquiry ordered by David Cameron found no evidence of British involvement in the massacre.

Suspected Sikh militants surrendered after the Indian government's 1984 assault on the Golden Temple. "Around four months before the event, at the request of the Indian government, a single UK military officer provided some advice. But, critically, this advice was not followed, and it was a one-off. There is absolutely no evidence of UK government involvement in the operation itself," Cameron said, summarising the findings of Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood.

The campaigners, however, believe the closed files will shed more light on the extent of Britain's involvement. One of the four files relates to "UK/Indian relations: situation in Punjab; activities of Sikh extremists", as well as a visit to the UK by Rajiv Gandhi, who took office after his mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards in October 1984 in retaliation for the Amritsar attack.

Another file covers meetings between Margaret Thatcher and an aide to Indira Gandhi, as well as the latter's assassination and Thatcher's visit to India to attend her funeral. The final document is entitled simply: "India: political".

Some of the information has already been released to the National Archives, while other portions have been withheld from the public. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "The first tier tribunal will consider this case in the New Year and it would be inappropriate to comment any further." (ANI)

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 24 (ANI): A total of 40 Pakistani teachers left for Beijing for a Chinese language training program on Sunday.

Full Story >>

Two Jordanians killed in shooting at Israeli embassy in Amman

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 14:03 IST     

Amman [Jordan], July 24 (ANI): Two Jordanians were killed and an Israeli wounded in an incident at the Israel embassy compound in Amman on Sunday night, according to media reports.

Full Story >>

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 24 (ANI): The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing that left more than 20 people killed in western Kabul on Monday.

Full Story >>

Beijing [China], July 24 (ANI): China on Monday urged India to immediately withdraw their troops from the Doklam Plateau for solving the current border standoff between the two sides. Beijing warned that it is determined to safeguard its territory.

Full Story >>

Banners favoring Sharif's brother as PM appear in Lahore

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 11:40 IST     

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 24 (ANI): Banners in favour of Punjab Chief Minister and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif have appeared in Lahore asking Sharif to let his younger brother become premier of the country.

Full Story >>

Foreign terror suspect brought to U.S. for trial

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 10:51 IST     

Philadelphia [United States], July 24 (ANI): An Algerian terror suspect from Spain has been brought to the United States by the President Donald Trump administration, to be tried in federal court rather than at the Guantanamo Bay naval prison

Full Story >>

Kabul: Over 20 killed in suicide car bomb attack

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 09:37 IST     

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 24 (ANI): More than 20 people were killed in an explosion in western Kabul on Monday.

Full Story >>

'Just want to go home': German teenager who joined ISIS

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 08:56 IST     

London [U.K.], July. 24 (ANI): A German teenager, who is suspected to have joined ISIS, has now expressed deep regret for her actions and wants to return to her family.

Full Story >>

Jerusalem [Israel], July 24 (ANI): U.S. envoy to the peace process Jason Greenblatt will today visit Israel to support de-escalation of tensions amid the backdrop of the Temple Mount row.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], July 24 (ANI): A day after congressional leaders announced an agreement on a Russian sanctions bill, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the administration is supportive of the decision.

Full Story >>

Trump slams Republicans who won't 'protect' him

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 04:39 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): U.S President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at some members of his party who gained from his electoral win but now "do very little to protect" him.

Full Story >>

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], July 24 (ANI): Amid the ongoing impasse, Saudi Arabia has allowed access to Qatari pilgrims for Hajj (annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) aboard all flights other than Qatar Airways, country's national carrier.

Full Story >>

One killed in shooting at Israeli embassy in Jordan

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 00:36 IST     

Amman [Jordan], July 24 (ANI): At least one person was killed on Sunday in a shooting incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman, according to media reports.

Full Story >>

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 23 (ANI): The Taliban seized control of two key districts in Afghanistan - Kohistan district in Faryab and Taywara in Ghor - in a matter of hours.

Full Story >>

Turkish, Egyptian FMs discuss Al-Aqsa crisis on phone

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 22:08 IST     

Ankara [Turkey], July 23 (ANI): The Turkish and Egyptian foreign ministers spoke on the phone on Sunday to solve a crisis in Jerusalem over new security measures put in place at one of its most important holy sites Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israel Government after a bloody weekend.

Full Story >>

Jeddah [Saudi Arabia], July 23 (ANI): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah on the first leg of his Gulf tour that will also include Kuwait and Qatar, aimed at defusing the stand-off between Qatar and its Arab neighbours.

Full Story >>

Jerusalem [Israel], July 23 (ANI): The Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Ghiet has said that Israel is "playing with fire" with the new security measures put in place at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Full Story >>

Iran warships on way to Russia for military games

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 19:50 IST     

Tehran [Iran], July 23 (ANI): Iran has dispatched two warships to Azerbaijan's Port of Baku to participate in the 2017 Sea Cup competition of the International military Games hosted by Russia.

Full Story >>

New York [U.S.A], July 23 (ANI): The U.S. House will vote on the bill agreed by Congressional Republicans and Democrats, that include a package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, thus making it harder for President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Moscow.

Full Story >>

Lahore [Pakistan], July 23 (ANI): Denying that his client had concealed his employment in Dubai based company, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's lawyer, Khawaja Harris has submitted a written reply in the Supreme Court on Saturday, stating that Prime Minister mentioned his Dubai job and Iqama in nomination papers of 2013.

Full Story >>