Where Unity Is Strength
Header

Author Archives: Pritpal

NETWORK OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS UK 
PRESS RELEASE
 
Truth is high, but higher still is truthful living—Guru Nanak
Truth is high, but higher still is trade—1984 UK Government.
 

London: (08 Feb 2014); On Tuesday 4th February representatives of many Sikh organisations met with Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister MP at the Foreign Office to express concerns over the Cabinet Secretary’s Report on revelations on UK government support for Indian Army action against Sikhs in the Golden Temple.

SUMMARY

UK Sikhs are particularly concerned that despite a promised full inquiry, the Terms of Reference of the Report appear to have been designed to mitigate embarrassment resulting from incriminating documents inadvertently coming into the public domain. The Report of the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood is selective in its examination of documentation and concludes that British involvement was minimal. No mention is made of the background of a decade of increasingly active persecution of Sikhs by the Congress government as detailed in reports by Amnesty International and other human rights organisation.

The then Cabinet’s collective bias against Sikhs in the released papers is seen in a consistent labelling of Sikhs with a pick and mix assortment of pejorative descriptions such as separatist, dissident, extremist, fundamentalist etc. to produce a negative image of the community. The documents also showed the absence of a single word of sympathy for the thousands killed in the attack on the Golden Temple on one of the holiest days in the Sikh calendar and the organised widespread killing of Sikhs later in the year. The Inquiry Report instead seeks to show minimal UK military involvement.

The unanswered question remains why and on what criteria the UK government decided to accede to the then Indian government request for military assistance against India’s 2% Sikh community.

DETAILED CONCERNS

1.    Trade of greater importance than Human Rights of Sikhs Lord Singh, Director NSO was invited to meet the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood on 21st January. He explained the hurt and sense of betrayal felt by UK Sikhs over the revelations of British government involvement. The Cabinet Secretary’s response was that his task was simply to look at all documentation and report accordingly. When Lord Singh mentioned that the documents showed that the only concern of the then government seemed to be that a lack of support for the Indian government might jeopardise arms exports, he received the astonishing response from the Cabinet Secretary that he and his team were unaware of any arms trade implications in the papers. Lord Singh responded that he had seen several references to arms sales to India being under threat, and at the Cabinet Secretary’s request, gave his office details of a Cabinet document dated 22 November 1984, referring to a five billion pound arms contract.

·      Cabinet papers reveal several other references to arms sale concerns. A two-hour search by an NSO researcher at the National Records Office at Kew, found additional material and importantly evidence of key documents being removed. It has since been confirmed that the missing file related to ‘military intelligence relating to India for 1984’.

 

·      Lord Singh also informed Sir Jeremy Heywood of a personal experience when he went to see a former Cabinet member in November 1984 to express concern over UK government silence over the widespread organised killing of Sikhs throughout India. The staggering response was ‘Indarjit, we know exactly what is going on, it’s very difficult; we’re walking on a tightrope: we have already lost one important contract’. 

2.    Cabinet papers show that all members of the then Cabinet wilfully ignored the reality of the persecution of Sikhs in India despite evidence then available.

·      The UK consistently says that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Yet a policy decision seems to have been taken by the 1984 Cabinet to give unquestioning support to a Congress government with democratically tainted credentials in military action against India’s minority Sikh community. The decision ignored widely available evidence of the systematic persecution of Sikhs. This freely available evidence included:

·      A detailed report by Amnesty International in 1983 (AI Index: ASA 20/01/84 Distr: SC/CO) documenting widespread human rights abuses by the government.

·      A Report by highly respected Hindu civil rights lawyers entitled ‘Who Are the Guilty’, was smuggled out of India in November 84 and personally placed by Lord Singh in the pigeonholes of every MP.

·      A presentation was also given to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights who unanimously decided to send a two man investigating team to India. The Indian Government refused them visas. They appealed saying that their inquiry would help reduce tensions in the UK. They were still refused visas.

3.    Censorship of foreign journalists.

·      Jane Corbyn, a highly respected journalist from Channel 4, in India at the time of the organised killing of Sikhs in the first week of November, had her film confiscated by the Indian authorities. She did however manage to smuggle a duplicate copy to the UK. This censorship of foreign journalists is mentioned in the documents and was only relaxed after the end of the organised killings of Sikhs throughout India.

·      Perusal of the released papers also reveals Cabinet discussions on the need to curb the UK media against allowing any reporting or interviews about or with Sikhs that might offend the Indian government.

·      Unhelpful use of pejorative language in Cabinet papers to tarnish the image of UK Sikhs.

·      Reading through the documents gives the impression that anyone who expressed concern over the plight of Sikhs in India was immediately labelled an extremist by the UK government.

·      The papers show several examples of government pressure on the media to deny Sikhs a voice.

·      This use of pejorative language to smear a religious minority (referred to earlier) is underlined by Lord Singh’s personal experience. In November 84, two Scotland Yard officers visited him early on a Sunday morning. They said they were concerned about tensions in the Sikh community and asked Lord Singh if he was ‘an extremist or a moderate’? To emphasise the absurdity of such terms he replied he was ‘extremely moderate’. They then asked if he supported Sikh fundamentalism, to which he replied that the fundamentals of Sikh teachings were about the equality of all human beings, respect for other ways of life and a commitment to work for the betterment of society, ‘Yes I do try to be a Sikh fundamentalist’.

ACTION DESIRED

The present government cannot be blamed for what happened 30 years ago. But the Cabinet in 1984 must have been aware that the day chosen for the attack on the Golden Temple was the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan, (the founder of the Golden Temple) when the huge Temple complex was full to overflowing with innocent pilgrims. The reason given was to remove supposed extremists. The unanswered question is why then were 40 other gurdwaras in Punjab attacked at the same time? Today the UK government should reflect on the continuing hurt of the Sikh community, including the then government giving unthinking support to the cruel and vindictive Mrs Gandhi. To many outside the Sikh community, the events of 1984 are, in the words of the poet, ’dying embers’; to Sikhs they remain ‘red hot coals’ now fanned afresh by the revelation of British government involvement.

The events of 1984 damaged the previous close relationship and mutual respect between the Hindu and Sikh communities. 30 years after the event it is time for an open, independent inquiry that that punishes the guilty and leads to healing and closure.

Two of the three main political parties in India have openly declared their support for such an inquiry, and even Raul Gandhi speaking for the Congress has agreed that there was Congress involvement in the genocide.

Sikhs in the UK call on the government and UK political parties to give their strong backing for a long due open inquiry. In response to a question from Paul Uppal MP, in the Commons, the Foreign Secretary obliquely supported the need for such an inquiry; it should now be given support at the highest government level.

Sikhs are duty bound to stand up for the human rights of all people (Sarbat Da Bhalla), and in this spirit we call on the UK government to show that the subordination of human rights to arms sales to any part of the world is no longer present policy. If the UK government does not do this it forfeits any moral right to lecture other countries on the abuse of human rights.

All Sikh Organisations that attended the Foreign Office briefing showed heartening unanimity in their statements. If we can maintain this unity, we have a real chance in meeting our common objective of an open independent inquiry into the holocaust of Sikhs in 1984.

 
                             ———————————————————
 [Ends]
 
Notes to Editors.
1.      The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) is a registered charity that links more than 130 Gurdwaras and other UK Sikh organisations in active cooperation to enhance the image and understanding of Sikhism in the UK.
 
Hardeep Singh
Press Secretary
The Network of Sikh Organisations
http://nsouk.co.uk

Please see this link which includes a BBC Television interview with Lord Singh

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26027631

Golden Temple attack: UK advised India but impact ‘limited’

The Golden Temple is the holiest shrine for SikhsThe Golden Temple is one of the holiest shrines for Sikhs

British military advice was given to India ahead of the 1984 deadly attack on a Sikh temple but it had only “limited impact”, MPs have been told.

Foreign Secretary William Hague was delivering the findings of a review into claims an SAS officer helped Delhi plan the raid which killed hundreds.

The storming of the Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar was intended to flush out Sikh separatists.

Mr Hague said UK assistance was “purely advisory” and given months beforehand.

The inquiry was launched last month after declassified documents were said to suggest Margaret Thatcher’s government was involved in planning the raid, called Operation Blue Star.

Official figures put the death toll at 575, but Mr Hague said other reports suggested “as many as 3,000 people were killed including pilgrims caught in the crossfire”.

William Hague said a review had concluded British advice had “limited impact” on the Amritsar operation

“This loss of life was an utter tragedy,” he said.

“Understandably members of the Sikh community around the world still feel the pain and suffering caused by these events.”

Continue reading the main story

Analysis

image of Sanjoy MajumderSanjoy MajumderBBC News, in Delhi

The military commander who led Operation Blue Star, Lt Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar, has told the BBC that he had no knowledge of any advice from Britain to India.

In 2007 a former Indian intelligence officer, B Raman, claimed agents from the UK’s MI5 had visited the Golden Temple four months before the raid. The UK government review appears to corroborate the claim that a British adviser was sent.

But it also appears that the British advice was limited to a few people and certainly not shared with military commanders.

In India, Operation Blue Star has always been seen as a military disaster, which led to the loss of hundreds of lives – including those of civilians – and to the eventual assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The latest revelations will only lead to more questions about the assault on the Golden Temple, why it was a disaster and if, in fact, it could have been averted.

Delivering his statement, Mr Hague set out the UK’s involvement in planning for the raid.

He told the Commons that the British government had received an urgent request for help from Indian authorities who wanted to regain control of the temple from Sikh militants.

In response, an unnamed British military adviser was sent to India in February 1984, and he recommended any attack should be a last resort, MPs heard.

The adviser suggested using an element of surprise, as well as helicopters, to try to keep casualty numbers low – features which were not part of the final operation, Mr Hague said.

No equipment or training were offered, Mr Hague said, and the Indian plan “changed significantly” in the following three months, to cope with a considerably larger dissident force and extensive fortifications within the temple complex.

The investigation, carried out by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, involved searching 200 files and 23,000 documents.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I hope the manner in which we have investigated these dreadful events will provide some reassurance to the Sikh community, here in Britain and elsewhere.”

He added: “A single UK military officer provided some advice. But critically, this advice was not followed, and it was a one-off.”

Retired Lt Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar, who led Operation Blue Star, maintains he had no advice or support from Britain.

“If some things went around months earlier or weeks earlier with other agencies, intelligence agencies, I am not aware of them,” he told the BBC.

“From the time I was given command of Operation Blue Star until I planned it and executed it, let me emphatically tell you that there was no involvement whatsoever as far as the British are concerned.”

Indian army soldiers in the Golden Temple after the attack in June 1984Indian army soldiers moved to flush out Sikh separatists from the Golden Temple in June 1984

Paul Uppal, the UK’s only Sikh MP, said many Sikhs would be “relieved that it was just purely advice that was given”.

He praised the speed and thoroughness of the review and said it could be an “important step” towards “some closure” for Sikhs.

But Lord Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, called Mr Hague’s statement “smug and condescending”.

On the claim that UK advice had a “limited impact” of the Golden Temple attack, Lord Singh said: “It is like saying that I had only a minimal involvement in a massacre or a holocaust.”

He said the language in the documents was “insulting” to Sikhs – suggesting they were all extremists – and the UK’s real motivation in assisting India was keeping its arms contracts.

But Mr Hague said the review had found “no evidence” UK military advice in February 1984 had been “linked to defence sales or any other policy issue”.

Lord Singh, Network of Sikh Organisations: “Why should Britain be involved in the attack on a religious minority”

Jasvir Singh, director of the City Sikhs Network, which represents Sikh professionals in the UK, said the information disclosed in the review “harks back” to colonial times.

“I think there are lots of people in the Sikh community who are upset that the British could be involved in this, even to a limited extent,” he said.

Mr Singh said many details about British involvement in the 1984 attack were still unclear, and called for “transparency” from the authorities.

UK Sikh groups have said the government review should have looked not only at June 1984 but also the events that followed, and Mr Singh also criticised this “narrow scope”.

Continue reading the main story

Storming of the Golden Temple

  • 1982: Armed Sikh militants, led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, take up residence in the Golden Temple complex
  • 3-8 June 1984: The Indian army attacks the Golden Temple, killing Bhindranwale, his supporters and a number of civilians
  • 31 October 1984: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had given the go-ahead to Operation Blue Star, was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards
  • November 1984: More than 3,000 are killed in anti-Sikh riots across India

The Indian government said the UK had kept it “informed on this matter”.

“We have noted the report and the statement made,” an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said.

Indira Gandhi assassinated

David Cameron ordered the review last month after Labour MP Tom Watson said he had seen papers from Margaret Thatcher “authorising Special Air Services (SAS) to work with the Indian government”.

Mr Watson cited two letters released under the 30-year rule. He said a 1984 letter from the prime minister’s office stated that a British adviser had “visited India and drawn up a plan” which had been approved by the Indian government.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said “serious questions” remained about British involvement, and called for all relevant documents to be released.

The Sikh separatists at the Golden Temple in 1984 had been demanding an independent homeland – called Khalistan – in Punjab.

In October 1984 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in what was thought to be a revenge attack for what happened at the Golden Temple.

A month later, more than 3,000 people were killed in anti-Sikh riots across India.

London: (02 Feb 2014)

In a recent rally in India Rahul Gandhi was reported to say some congress politicians ‘were probably involved’ in the Delhi anti-Sikh pogroms in 1984.

Asked to comment by the Times of India Lord Singh said:

“I welcome Rahul Gandhi’s statement accepting that that ‘some Congressmen were probably involved’ in the November 84 genocide of Sikhs. He also agrees that the attacks on Sikhs were unwarranted and evil. In view of this will Rahul Gandhi institute an open inquiry as to why no action was taken against a spokesman on All India Radio repeatedly called for the killing of Sikhs with the words ‘khoon ka badla khoon’? Similar incitement in Rwanda led to a lengthy imprisonment by the International Criminal Court.”

He added: “In view of the need to improve relations between the Hindu and Sikh communities, will Mr. Gandhi agree to an open and independent Truth and Reconciliation Inquiry into the events of 1984 that moves to punish those responsible for violence on either side so that we can move to closure on this unfortunate period in Indian History?”

 [Ends]

Notes to Editors.

1.      The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) is a registered charity that links more than 100 Gurdwaras and other UK Sikh organisations in active cooperation to enhance the image and understanding of Sikhism in the UK. 

Hardeep Singh
Press Secretary
The Network of Sikh Organisations 
www.nsouk.co.uk

http://www.sikhchic.com/1984/i_will_not_attend_lord_indarjit_singhs_missive_to_teji_bindra

Lord INDARJIT SINGH

 

To

Teji Bindra

New York, USA

 

25-10-12

Dear Tejinder ji,

Sat Sri Akal

Re: Sikh Heritage Arts Gala 2012

I am writing to inform you that I will not be attending the Sikh Arts and Film Festival.

When Dr Narinder Singh Kapany informed me that Sikhs in New York wished to honour me for becoming the first turbaned Sikh in the British Parliament, I agreed.

I was given to understand that it would be at a function of Sikh Heritage Awards. I now learn from the detailed Programme sent me that it is a Festival of Indian Films with dinner and dance in the presence of dignitaries from and representatives of the Indian government.

This festive  event coincides with the anniversary of  the government planned systematic  slaughter and rape of thousands of Sikhs throughout the length and breadth of India following  the assassination of Indira Gandhi, commencing with Rajiv Gandhi’s broadcast incitement of “khoon ka badla khoon” – “Exact blood for blood”. ( An official in Africa recently received a lengthy jail term from the International Criminal Court for lesser incitement).

Ever since 1984, I have campaigned tirelessly for those responsible for this genocide against Sikhs to be brought to justice through articles in the Sikh Messenger , the Journal of Amnesty International, articles in the Times, the Guardianand other  British, French, American and Arabic journals and in radio and TV broadcasts. My effort and those of many others for the Indian government to respect civilised norms and bring those responsible to justice have simply fallen on deaf ears.

In the circumstances, I hope you will understand why on the anniversary of this massacre, I cannot join you with your guests from the Indian government.  My apologies for any inconvenience.

Kind regards
Dr. Indarjit Singh ( Lord Singh of Wimbledon)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/137b1408-7dd9-11e3-95dd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2qku6Ocwx

By Griselda Murray Brown and Kiran Stacey

The campaigner speaks out following revelation about UK government’s possible involvement in tragic incident
Lord Singh

Lord Singh is widely known for his contributions to the “Thought for the Day” slot on BBC Radio 4, urging religious tolerance in gentle, measured tones, but his influence extends far beyond the breakfast table. This tireless campaigner is currently demanding an apology from the British government over its possible involvement – revealed this week – in the 1984 attack by the Indian government on the Sikh temple at Amritsar.

A practising Sikh, Singh co-founded the Inter Faith Network for the UK in 1987 to promote better relations between religions, and in 2008 he became the first Sikh to address a major conference at the Vatican. He set up the Network of Sikh Organisations in 1995, co-ordinating pastoral care for Sikhs in hospitals, prisons and the armed forces. The Prince of Wales, Anglican bishops and the Metropolitan Police are among those who have consulted him, and he has advised the government on race relations. In 2011, he was made a crossbench life peer in the House of Lords – the first member to wear a turban.

Born Indarjit Singh in 1932 in Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, he moved to the UK as a baby. Singh’s father, a doctor, had been involved in the Indian independence movement and was “virtually exiled” to east Africa; after studying in Britain he decided to move his family there rather than returning to India. So, in 1933, Singh, together with his two elder brothers and mother, joined his father in Birmingham.

Singh now lives in the detached Victorian house in Wimbledon, southwest London, that he and his wife, Kanwaljit, bought in 1974. Forty years after the Singhs moved in with their two young daughters, the home feels lived-in but well-maintained, and various decorative objects attest to the couple’s broad tastes: an engraving of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, north India, the holiest Sikh shrine; an ancient Greek-style plate; a painted Alpine scene; and a Japanese print.

Singh met his wife in India, when he was working there as a mine engineer, and they moved to England in the mid-1960s – first to Birmingham, then London when Singh was offered a job in civil engineering. He later studied for an MBA and moved into local government. Kanwaljit, in turn, has worked as a primary schoolteacher, a headteacher and a school inspector. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services to education and interfaith understanding.

Wall hanging of the Golden Temple

Over tea and homemade samosas, Singh recalls his childhood in Birmingham – where, in 1939, the Indian population was estimated at just 100. “My parents had a very tough time. They wouldn’t give my father a hospital job so he set up his own practice as a GP. He was a very determined chap, but the patients didn’t come too quickly. My mother even had to pawn some of her jewellery for things like bread and milk.” At this, he breaks into laughter, his eyes almost disappearing as his face creases. “But they came through it all, and the practice grew and grew.”

Singh is serious in his beliefs but quick to laugh at life’s absurdities – even the absurdity of prejudice. The Singh brothers were the only non-white pupils at the local grammar school. “Everyone knew that Britain was top and everybody else was down there,” he gestures to the floor. “There was a history teacher who looked directly at me in class and said ‘They come over here, they get educated and they go back to India to harass us’.” Did that upset him? “No,” he says, “it was par for the course. We knew it was wrong but it was the game being played. It was snakes and ladders and your ladders had broken rungs.”

Indarjit Singh's dining room

After graduating from Birmingham university in 1959 with a first-class degree in engineering, Singh applied to the Coal Board to become a mine manager. However, at his interview he was squarely informed that “miners in this country wouldn’t like an Indian manager”. So he decided to leave home for India, a country he barely knew.

At that time, relations between Sikhs and Hindus in India were deteriorating. They had lived together harmoniously for centuries. But that changed with the Partition of India in 1947, when Pakistan was carved out as a Muslim land and bloodshed ensued as Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs found themselves on the wrong sides of the new borders. The Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had promised Sikhs “an area and a set-up in the north where in [they] may also experience the glow of freedom” – but no such provision was made. Sikhs felt increasingly marginalised and there was rioting in Punjab.

“When I went to India, Sikhs had no voice,” says Singh. “There was no Sikh press and if you wrote complainingly to the papers you were ignored. Being British, I thought ‘This is unfair, I’ve got to do something about it’.” A smile spreads slowly across his face. “If I wrote to the papers as a Sikh, there wasn’t a chance they’d print it, so I decided to write as my next-door neighbour in England, Victor Pendry, and my letter to the Hindustan Times was published. It had a huge ripple, especially in the Sikh community. My wife had heard about Victor Pendry before she met me.”

Mantelpiece at Indarjit Singh's home

At this point, Kanwaljit enters to refill our teacups. She is busy in the smaller back sitting room (she still works as a freelance school inspector), but she wants to check that we have everything we need. The couple’s grown-up children moved out years ago and the house feels big for two – big enough for a study each and several spare bedrooms. Initially, they made alterations to the place – “we knocked two rooms into one through-lounge, and built a kitchen extension and a garage” – but after a while they “got a bit lazy”. It seems likely they were less lazy than busy.

Singh co-founded the Inter Faith Network for the UK while still working full-time, and in 1989 he became the first non-Christian to be awarded the UK Templeton Prize “for the furtherance of spiritual and ethical understanding”. He wrote regularly for the Sikh Courier from 1967 and when, in 1983, its owner didn’t like Singh’s proposed articles on communal violence between Sikhs and Hindus in India, Singh left to establish a new publication, the Sikh Messenger, of which he remains editor.

Tensions with the Sikh community came to a head in June 1984 when India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, ordered the army to storm the Golden Temple complex and remove Sikh separatists, with co-ordinated raids on gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship). The attack fell on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan, founder of the Golden Temple, when thousands of pilgrims were gathered. Official estimates put civilian deaths at about 400, but independent reports claim thousands died. Four months later, Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards in an act of vengeance, and anti-Sikh rioting swept across India, killing thousands more.

Indarjit Singh's living room

It is now almost 30 years since the attack, an anniversary that has brought fresh information. A document released by the British government, under the 30-year rule, has revealed that Geoffrey Howe, the then foreign secretary, sent an SAS officer to India in the months before the attack to advise Gandhi’s government on its tactics.

The revelation has led David Cameron, the UK prime minister, to order an inquiry and the Foreign Office has accepted Singh’s offer of support. “I would like the authorities to take the opportunity to try and bring closure on something that is creating continuing suspicion between the Hindu and Sikh communities,” he says. “I want an open, international inquiry into those events – then you can punish those that are guilty on either side and give a sense of closure.”

For all his mild-mannered charm, Singh is not one to back down – and his drive is that of a much younger man. “It’s always worth having a say and keeping to your principles,” he insists. Three decades after the killings at the Golden Temple, he will be doing that more than ever.

——————————————-

Favourite thing

Singh’s house is full of awards: an OBE, a CBE, an honorary doctorate and countless tokens of appreciation from gurdwaras across Britain. But “the superior thing” is a painting by his granddaughter, which he has since framed. “I went to their house when her mum was away and I was deputed to do her plaits. She said ‘No one has ever done them quite like that’, and the next time I went there she presented me with it”.

Here is a link to an article in India Today on 14th January 2014

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/thatcher-colluded-with-indira-for-op-bluestar-labour-mp/1/336038.html

A British MP and a Sikh member of the House of Lords claimed that top secret documents suggested Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government helped Indira Gandhi plan the storming of the Golden Temple in 1984 to flush out militants from the shrine, an operation that left more than 1,000 people dead.

Tom Watson, the Labour lawmaker from West Bromwich East, and Lord Indarjit Singh said the documents released under Britain’s 30-year rule included “papers from Mrs Thatcher authorising the SAS (Special Air Service) to collude with the Indian government on the planning on the raid of the Golden Temple”.

The government apparently “held back” some more documents and “I don’t think that’s going to wash”, he told BBC Asian Network.

“I think British Sikhs and all those concerned about human rights will want to know exactly the extent of Britain’s collusion with this period and this episode and will expect some answers from the Foreign Secretary,” Watson said.

He wrote on his website that he would write to the Foreign Secretary and raise the issue in the House of Commons to get a “full explanation”.

“But trying to hide what we did, not coming clean, I think would be a very grave error and I very much hope that the Foreign Secretary will…reveal the documents that exist and give us an explanation to the House of Commons and to the country about the role of Britain at that very difficult time for Sikhism and Sikhs,” he added.

On his website, Watson referred to documents that were made public by the organisation “Stop Deportations”. The organisation said these documents were among a series of letters released at the New Year by the National Archives in London.

A letter marked “top secret and personal” dated February 23, 1984, nearly four months before the incident in Amritsar, titled ‘Sikh Community’, reads: “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 Gandhi. The Foreign Secretary believes that the Indian Government may put the plan into operation shortly.”

Lord Singh, also the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations in the UK, now wants the UK government to reveal the extent of British government involvement in both Houses of Parliament

SAS involvement in 1984

January 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Pritpal in 1984 Sikh Genocide | Press Releases - (0 Comments)

London: (13th of Jan 2014) The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) can confirm that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been in contact with Lord Singh, further to a leak of documents, indicating Thatcher’s approval of SAS collusion with the Indian government’s attack on the Golden Temple in 1984.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into the then governments involvement.

The FCO have readily accepted the offer of support from Lord Singh to support any investigation.

[Ends}

 

Notes to Editors.

1.      The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) is a registered charity that links more than 100 Gurdwaras and other UK Sikh organisations in active cooperation to enhance the image and understanding of Sikhism in the UK.

Hardeep Singh

Press Secretary

The Network of Sikh Organisations

http://www.nsouk.co.uk/

London: (17th of Jan 2014) Leading academics and local residents join Lord Singh Director NSO, to urge Mr. Nawaz Sharif the Pakistani Prime Minister, to help preserve a historic gurdwara in Wazirabad, Gujranwala District. The gurdwara known as Guru Kotha, was named after Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Guru of the Sikhs. Nadir Cheema, from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) approached Lord Singh of Wimbledon, the NSO’s Director for support.

In an open letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister the signatories write:

“It should be a matter of pride for you, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, that the Muslim residents of Wazirabad, listed in this letter, were the first to show their concern about the state of the gurdwara and brought this to our attention. In the last ten years around 200 mosques have been restored in Indian Punjab with the help of Sikh and Hindu communities. Showing such a measure of mutual respect for each other’s religious sentiments could play a huge part in producing sustainable peace and coexistence between two nations.”

Nadir Cheema from SOAS said, ”I approached Lord Indarjit Singh on behalf of Muslim residents of Wazirabad, Gujranwala District (Pakistani Punjab). The residents had been trying to preserve the gurdwara in the city of Wazirabad, which is illegally occupied and incessantly encroached. The gurdwara was named after Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth of Sikh Gurus. Lord Singh encouraged me to take the matter up with higher authorities; he supported and guided me at every step. He directly wrote a letter to the High Commissioner of Pakistan and is the main signatory of the letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, which is also supported by senior Sikh academics at British universities.”

He added “The High Commissioner of Pakistan in London has assured me that he will forward the letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan with his strongest recommendation for the preservation of the historic gurdwara in Wazirabad. We, the residents of Wazirabad, are highly indebted to Lord Singh for his support. Such endeavours will help us to revive the plural culture of Punjab which transcended religious boundaries for centuries.”

[Ends]

Notes to Editors.

1.      The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) is a registered charity that links more than 100 Gurdwaras and other UK Sikh organisations in active cooperation to enhance the image and understanding of Sikhism in the UK. 

Hardeep Singh

Press Secretary

The Network of Sikh Organisations

http://nsouk.co.uk

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE NETWORK OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS,THE HINDU COUNCIL(UK) & THE SIKH MEDIA MONITORING GROUP(UK)

PRESS RELEASE

UK Sikh and Hindu organisations condemn recent comments by MP on sexual grooming in Rochdale and denials by the local Police force on the pattern of abuse.

London: (18th of December 2013) The Network of Sikh Organisations,The Hindu Council UK and The Sikh Media Monitoring Group (UK) jointly condemn recent comments by Labour Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk that certain ‘Asian’ communities are in denial after a spate of sexual grooming cases in Rochdale and also condemn Greater Manchester Police’s denial of an obvious pattern of abuse.

Joint groups of Sikh and Hindu organisations in recent years have campaigned against the use of the blanket term ‘Asian’ when reporting on several high profile court cases recently involving sex grooming gangs of mainly Pakistani origin – which many felt unfairly smeared Britain’s Sikhs and Hindus (see below link):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18092605

These same gangs have also targeted Sikh and Hindu girls in the UK and this was the subject of a recent BBC documentary (see below link):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hXTM7ehvtk

Mr Danczuk’s failure in highlighting that it was gangs from the Pakistani-Muslim community that were responsible for such abuse must be condemned in light of the fact that no Sikhs and Hindus were ever involved. This has caused outrage within the UK’s Sikh and Hindu communities, many of whom interpret this as either political correctness or incompetence and has led to an online petition to be set up in protest (PLEASE SIGN PETITION):  

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/we-the-undersigned-demand-that-politicians

Equally as disappointing was the denial by Greater Manchester Police of a pattern of abuse of white girls being targeted by local Pakistani-Muslim gangs – despite similar patterns emerging after high – profile convictions in several UK towns and cities in recent years.

We welcome the forthcoming inquiry in the New Year chaired by Labour Stockport MP Ann Coffey to assess improvements in protecting young people since the Rochdale case. However, we feel it will be doomed to failure if high profile figures are either inaccurate or in denial in recognising the root causes of an undeniable pattern of sexual abuse emerging throughout the country.

The Network Of Sikh Organisations

http://nsouk.co.uk/

The Hindu Council UK

http://www.hinducounciluk.org/

The Sikh Media Monitoring Group (UK)

Appendices:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10507023/Asian-communities-in-denial-about-grooming-says-Rochdale-MP.html

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/mp-rochdale-simon-danczuk-made-6402120

For more information please contact:

 Mr Ashish Joshi

Sikh Media Monitoring Group (UK)

Tel:07917 633186

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/we-the-undersigned-demand-that-politicians

Earlier this month (Dec 2013) on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale said there was “no doubt” ethnicity was a factor in grooming cases. He said “We still need a breakthrough, I think, in terms of the Asian community” Simon Danczuk’s use of the term ‘Asian’ in this context is grossly insulting to the Hindu and Sikh communities.

Those convicted in Simon Danczuk’s constituency for grooming of white British girls in May 2012, included 8 men of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan. Judge Gerald Clifton who sentenced the men said they treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond respect” he added “One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion”

The men were of predominantly Pakistani Muslim origin.

As in Simon Danczuk’s example, by masking the identity of perpetrators by using vague terminology ‘Asian’, we are unable to have a mature discussion or get to the root cause of an emerging pattern of criminality. This is important because…..

· Use of the word ‘Asian’ is unfair to Sikhs, Hindus and other communities who are of Asian origin and have not been involved in the emerging pattern of convictions for sexual grooming.

· 1.1 The reported convictions of men for sexual grooming of white British girls, almost always involve men of Pakistani origin.

· 1.2 There is reluctance by both government and media to discuss the disproportionate representation of Muslims in such cases.

· 1.3 Victims are almost always non-Muslim girls

· 1.4 The Hindu and Sikh communities have been complaining about targeting of their girls by Muslim men for decades

· 1.5 In August 2013, Muslim men were amongst those convicted for the sex grooming of a Sikh girl in Leicester.

· 1.6 Communities who themselves fall victim of this emerging pattern of criminality, should not be besmirched by the vague terminology ‘Asian’.

· 1.7 In order to help find a solution to the problem, we need to be clear on the identity of those involved. We will not be able to do this if we mask the identity based on misguided views of protecting a vulnerable community of perpetrators and not looking at the vulnerable community of victims.

· 1.8 Political correctness by some of our elected representatives is stifling an important debate.

· 1.9 We believe that in this case the government itself is sanctioning the use of term Asian as a way of clouding responsibility.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/we-the-undersigned-demand-that-politicians

The Network of Sikh Organisations

http://nsouk.co.uk/

Sikh Media Monitoring Group

Hindu Council UK

www.HinduCouncilUK.org

Skip to toolbar