British help for Operation Bluestar stirs Punjab parties
Radical Sikh organizations as well as Punjab's ruling Akali Dal Tuesday come out against revelations that Britain had helped the Indian government in plans to launch Operation Bluestar on the Golden Temple complex, home to the holiest of Sikh shrines 'Harmandar Sahib', in June 1984.
Radical Sikh organization Dal Khalsa Tuesday shot off a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameroon through the British High Commission in India expressing its "pain, concern and anguish over the startling revelations as to how the then British government under Margaret Thatcher helped Indian government to attack the Golden Temple in June 1984".
Another radical body, the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) will hold a rally outside British High Commissioner's office in New Delhi Jan 17, its president Karnail Singh Peermohammed told IANS.
"The aim of the rally is to demand that British Parliament should immediately pass a resolution that action of PM Margret Thatcher of colluding with Indira Gandhi to attack the holiest Sikh shrine was wrong," he said.
Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh, quoting the letter, said: "The news report about the secret document from British National Archives revealing the UK government collaborating with Indian government to plan the attack has shattered the Sikhs from within. The Sikh diaspora is deeply hurt and the news has left them numbed."
He said the document revealed that India sought support and the British government obliged.
"However it is silent as to what extent and in what shape the support and succour was provided," the letter said, seeking these details.
Britain is home to tens of thousands of Sikhs who have settled there in the past nearly 100 years.
The controversy erupted after documents of that period went public in Britain and Liberal MP Tom Watson procured documents showing that Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) was involved in planning the attack on the Golden Temple.
The Akali Dal in Punjab Tuesday blamed the Congress party for its "nefarious designs against the Sikh community".
In a statement here, Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said that the top secret British documents had exposed the real conspiracy behind Operation Bluestar.
"The media reports published today (Tuesday) have unearthed a major conspiracy of the Congress party which even went to the extent of compromising the national sovereignty for its political gains," he said.
Terming it shocking to see that to solve an issue of internal security of Punjab state, Mrs. Gandhi took the services of British forces, he said the Congress-led union government must come clean on the "unknown compulsions under which it had to take the help of forces from such a country against whom the nation had fought a battle of freedom for more than 200 years".
Cheema said that the only justification of colluding with British forces could be that they had the expertise to kill thousands of freedom fighters as in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Heavily armed terrorists, led by separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, were flushed out by the Indian Army in its Operation Bluestar on the Golden Temple complex in June 1984. The then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, had ordered the Army operation in which hundreds were killed.
Punjab had witnessed a bloody phase of terrorism between 1981 to 1992 as separatists demanded a separate Sikh homeland - Khalistan (Land of the pure). The terrorism phase left over 25,000 people dead, including hundreds of security force personnel.
(Posted on 14-01-2014)