LONDON, UK—The Sikh Federation (UK) is preparing to release details of several cases involving British citizens and their families who were victims in June 1984, and who were effectively sent to their deaths in the run up to the 30th memorial anniversary of the Sikh genocide in June 1984. It has also welcomed pressure from Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP, the Shadow Foreign Secretary on the UK Government in the run up.
In a letter from Douglas Alexander dated May 6th, to Rt. Hon. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, he said: “there is an imperative on the government to offer clarification on the questions that still remain unanswered. “
He continues that while “labour supported the government’s decision to publish a report into alleged British Government involvement in the incident… questions remain about the involvement, conduct and contribution of the British Government at the time.”
Douglas Alexander in the debate on February 4th called on the government to publish all relevant documents pertaining to the incident and for an explanation for the delay in publishing the inquiry’s terms of reference. He also raised questions about why the report only covered the period between December 1983 and June 1984, despite the significance of events in the following weeks and months. In the debate he called on the government to task the Cabinet Secretary to set out whether he believes there might be grounds for a fuller inquiry covering a longer time period.
The Labour Frontbench subsequently wrote to the Foreign Secretary on February 19th asking for a fuller response to these questions.
In his letter he has said the government has: “failed to respond to Labour’s questions about the grounds for this decision not to pursue a fuller inquiry, covering a longer time period.”
Consequently, written Parliamentary Questions were tabled by Douglas Alexander and answered on April 10th. In his letter he states, “I regret to say that the answers yet again failed to offer any further clarity about how this decision was reached within government.”
He concludes his letter by saying: “Given the growing significance of this issue in the run up to this year’s important memorial, I would ask that you respond to the questions posed, so that the answers can be made available to those who still seek further information about this tragic incident.”
A Sikh Federation (UK) spokesman said:
“Pressure is mounting on the UK Government in the run up to the European and local elections on May 22nd and the 30th anniversary of June 1984 with a huge rally planned for Central London on Sunday June 8th, that is expected to attract tens of thousands of Sikhs from across the UK.”
“What is particularly concerning the government is that the Federation informed them last week that details of several cases will be released of British citizens and their families who were victims in June 1984 and who were effectively sent and put to death by their own government.”
“This will show the Foreign and Commonwealth Office not only failed to protect its own British citizens and their families in 1984 by failing to warn them not to travel to Punjab given the military build up of 150,000 troops, but given the revelations of direct UK involvement in assisting the Indian army in planning the military attack on the Sikhs’ holiest shrine to coincide with one of the most important times in the Sikh calendar it will provide proof the UK Government at that time helped kill its own citizens.”
“The government of today now has a choice to tell the full truth of its own accord by announcing an independent inquiry that can conclude in the next 12 months looking into the events leading up to 1984, the events throughout 1984 and what happened subsequently or be forced to come clean in the courts if victims are prepared to take on the UK Government.”