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article imageAmritsar massacre had British involvement, new documents reveal

By Joe Z Hudson     Jan 14, 2014 in Politics
London - British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the government will hold an inquiry into the country's involvement in the Golden Temple attack in 1984.
Documents released under the 30-year-rule reveal then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent an SAS officer to the country after responding to an Indian request for assistance.
That British assistance entailed the Officer assisting his Indian counterparts in formulating a strategy to remove Sikh insurgents holed up in Amritsar's Golden Temple. The raid ended up killing 400 people by official count but Sikh groups believe it could be in the thousands.
The documents are now a subject of an inquiry by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to look at the event itself and whether the information should have been declassified.
Sky News published a letter on their website between two private secretaries within the Thatcher government which outlines the British involvement.
"The Indian authorities recently sought British advice over a plan to remove Sikh extremists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Foreign Secretary decided to respond favourably to the Indian request and, with the Prime Minister's agreement, an SAD (sic) officer has visited India and drawn up a plan which has been approved by Mrs Gandhi. The Foreign Secretary believes that the Indian Government may put the plan into operation shortly."
"An operation by the Indian authorities at the Golden Temple could, in the first instance, exacerbate the communal violence in the Punjab.
"It might also, therefore, increase tension in the Indian community here, particularly if knowledge of the SAS involvement were to become public. We have impressed upon the Indians the need for security; and knowledge of the SAS officer's visit and of his plan has been tightly held both in India and in London."
In the aftermath of the February attack, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her guards in a revenge killing with the commander of the operation, Lt General (Retd) KS Brar, surviving multiple assassination attempts including one in Britain by a group of Sikhs in 2012.
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