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UK’s first turbaned Sikh MP promises another probe into its ‘role in Operation Bluestar’

Dhesi also raised the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira’s assassination, and said, “The pain is still there in the community. People are awaiting justice, and only justice will help them move on.”

punjab Updated: Jul 26, 2017 22:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
UK’s first turbaned Sikh MP,Operation Bluestar,Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first turbaned Sikh MP in the UK, paying obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday, July 25.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Stressing that Sikhs have played a pivotal role in economic development of various countries, United Kingdom’s first turbaned Sikh parliamentarian, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, said here on Wednesday that raising issues faced by Sikhs will be among his top priorities as a member of the House of Commons.

After paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, he spoke on Operation Bluestar, the 1984 army action ordered by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi to flush out militants from the Golden Temple, during a media interaction and said, “Earlier, an inquiry was done (into the UK’s alleged role in the operation). But that was a whitewash. Now we will get an independent inquiry done to find out what the role of the then British government was when Operation Bluestar took place.”

Dhesi also raised the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira’s assassination, and said, “The pain is still there in the community. People are awaiting justice, and only justice will help them move on.”

About Sikhs abroad, he said, “There are countries for which thousands of Sikhs have sacrificed their lives and have also contributed immensely to their development; but it is unfortunate that in those very countries they are asked to remove their turbans in the name of security. Turban is the pride of every Sikh.”

He talked about France, “where Sikh students are banned from wearing turban in school and others are asked to remove their turbans for official pictures”.

“It is unfortunate to see that till date Sikhs are facing hate crime. Their identity is mistaken,” he said, indirectly referring to Islamophobia and crimes committed as Sikhs are mistaken for Muslims.

“Many Sikhs have been shot dead due to this mistaken identity glitch. This needs to stop. I will raise this. I know the community is looking up to me. I am proud to be a member of the UK parliament as it is a diverse House, and even these issues will be heard and resolved,” said the MP from Slough segment.

SGPC members honouring Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (centre) and his father at Golden Temple, Amritsar, on Wednesday, July 25. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Earlier, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) executive members, in the absence of president Kirpal Singh Badungar, collectively honoured the MP and his father, Jaspal Singh Dhesi. SGPC general secretary Amardeep Singh Chawla in his speech told the MP that everyone is proud of his “record-breaking win” in the elections and also said that “it is a big victory for the community that, for the first time, a turbaned Sikh hasmade it to parliament not only in UK but in the entire Europe”.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 21:23 IST