UK Government: Release of 1980 Files Will Harm Ties With India

LONDON, UK—The UK government has said that the release of classified documents dating back to the period of Operation Blue Star in 1984 could prejudice international relations with India due to the political sensitivity of the subject. This statement was made during the third day of the hearing of case between freelance Journalist Phil Miller and UK Information Commissioner in First Tier Tribunal of London.

Notably, hearing on this case had begun in the First Tier Tribunal of London on March 6 which seeks declassification of secret files of 1980’s era so that the UK’s involvement in compromising with India to devastate holiest Sikh shrine in June 1984 could become public.  

The UK authorities have also linked the classified information in the documents with wider national security concerns and have claimed that extracting of any portions of it to make public would cross the cabinet office’s red lines.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), another party in the hearing, questioned the impact on UK-India relations with the release of the documents saying India is a country governed by the rule of law, with a “sophisticated democracy” and there should be no reason to presume that it would not respect the UK’s need to follow the rule of law.

As part of her closing submissions, UK-based freelance journalist Phil Miller’s counsel argued in favour of the files being made public as part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) stressed on wide public interest in the case and concluded that it was not simply about seeking a “smoking gun” in terms of UK-India bilateral relations in the 1980s.

“The documents may well allay concerns and help reassure the Sikh community. So there could be good news in no bad news,” said Mr. Miller’s counsel.

Meanwhile, the judge at the first tier tribunal hearing Murray Shanks has reserved judgment in the case, which is expected to be addressed later this year.

UK’s straight forward stand has made one thing clear that the UK government had favored Indian government in carrying out the military attack on holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandir Sahib and committing grave violence if human rights there. It has also become clear that the UK government keeping its citizen in dark by hiding its role in Operation Bluestar to save financial ties with India.

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  1. Is temporary tension in ties supersede truth. If this is the case then who is going to speak up for human rights. It is high time British Govt comes out clean.

  2. It is in the public interest to know the exact role of the then UK government in the 1984 Amritsar massacre. Were gross human rights violations committed or condoned to appease the world’s so-called largest democracy in return for a trade deal, and, if so, is such a policy still active today?