British PM orders probe into Labour MP’s claim that UK helped Indira Gandhi plan Operation Bluestar
New Delhi – The British government is looking into allegations that Margaret Thatcher’s administration secretly helped Indira Gandhi plan the storming of the Golden Temple in 1984, a highly controversial move in which over 1,000 people were killed after troops entered Sikhism’s holiest shrine to flush out militants holed up there. Five months later, in retaliation, Mrs Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered his Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts after a Labour law-maker, Tom Watson, said that documents he has seen suggest that “Margaret Thatcher made a decision in secret without telling the British parliament to provide military planning support to the government of India in the build-up to the raid on the Golden Temple.”
Mr Watson told NDTV that he has asked the government to verify the authenticity of the recently-released documents. He also wants the UK government to explain if other documents that could offer more information have been “withheld or suppressed” about the UK’s possible role in the designing of Operation Bluestar, the name of the highly controversial raid at the Golden Temple.
“These events led to a tragic loss of life and we understand the very legitimate concerns that these papers will raise. The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Secretary to look into this case urgently and establish the facts,” a UK government spokesperson said in a statement issued in London last night.
“The PM and the Foreign Secretary were unaware of these papers prior to publication,” he added.