Indian ex-army official denies UK involvement in Golden Temple assault
- POSTED: 17 Jan 2014 00:22
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India's ties with the United Kingdom have run into trouble, over claims that the British government helped to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple 30 years ago.
INDIA: India's ties with the United Kingdom have run into trouble, over claims that the British government helped to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple 30 years ago.
But former Indian Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, who headed the operation, has denied any UK involvement.
Retired Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, who spearheaded Operation Blue Star in 1984, refuted allegations that the British government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher helped the then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi take down Sikh separatists hiding in the Golden Temple complex.
Hundreds of people died in the raid, which eventually led to the revenge assassination of Indira Gandhi.
Outraged Sikhs around the world accused the Congress government of desecrating the faith's holiest shrine.
The retired general dismissed claims that the UK was involved, and said that the military operation was planned and executed solely by the Indian army.
Lieutenant General (Retired) Kuldeep Singh Brar said: "None at all, there was no interference whatsoever by any foreign agency or from any political functionary. We were given a free hand to carry out the operations. It was completely planned and executed by senior officers of the Indian army."
Reports of the allegation surfaced after a lawmaker from Britain's Labour party Tom Watson claimed that he saw declassified documents relating to the raid.
His claims led to Prime Minister David Cameron to announce an urgent inquiry into alleged British involvement.
Sikhs in India are also demanding a thorough investigation into the matter.
Kiranjot Kaur, member of the Sikh Organisation at Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said: "We need to know what transpired and the response of the British office to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's letter to them. We would also like to know the details of the participation of the UK government in Operation Blue Star. Mrs Gandhi always talked about a foreign hand, and we never realised that this could be the foreign hand she is talking about."
The reports of alleged involvement of the British government into the Golden Temple attack spell trouble for the ruling Congress party, which already faces an uphill task to be re-elected in the general elections due in May.