Hundreds of Sikhs marched through central London to mark the 31st anniversary of Operation Bluestar when Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple to flush out militants.
The London march on Sunday, from Hyde Park to Waterloo Palace, was led by five Sikhs in ceremonial dress with swords drawn and included floats on the themes of “truth”, “freedom” and “justice”.
Sikh families from across various cities in England, including Edinburgh, Birmingham and Leicester, travelled to Hyde Park to mark their protest. Hundreds sat on the grass as they listened to speaker after speaker giving speeches in Punjabi, condemning the attack.
The military operation in Golden Temple in Amritsar by the army to flush out terrorists has been labelled as “Genocide-84 Remembrance March and Freedom Rally” by the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO-UK).
The UK Sikh community was also angered by the revelation in previously secret papers published by the UK government last year, which suggested that a special air service (SAS) officer was recruited to help the Indian Army plan the operation.
The FSO-UK has demanded an independent inquiry into the British role in the incident, which led to the deaths of hundreds holed up inside the temple complex and military personnel.
“Our government owes us the truth in terms of what their role was (in Operation Bluestar),” said Dabinder Jit Singh, one of the British Sikhs at the rally.
Last year, then UK foreign secretary William Hague had said that under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a single British military adviser travelled to India and told the intelligence agencies that a military operation should only be put into place as a last resort, adding that British military advice had “limited impact”.
The protesters also used Sunday’s event to protest India’s alleged failure to prevent the killing of thousands of Sikhs in the 1984 riots.