Today Sikh representatives from around the country, including thirty people from the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance and the Sikh community of Leicester, will lobby in the Houses of Parliament for a full inquiry into the extent of British involvement in the 1984 Golden Temple attack. One million people signed a UN petition last year calling for independent investigations into crimes against humanity, and the Sikh community will now make a nationwide stand against the atrocities that took place.
The attack on Sikhism’s holiest shrine happened in Amritsar on 6 June 1984, which was the Martyrdom Day of the 5th Guru, and 492 people were killed. At the time there was a media blackout and Amnesty International had no access to the area, however, since then medical staff have given accounts of people being shot point blank. The memory of the violence continues to impact upon Sikhs worldwide, and thirty years later they are still seeking answers, justice, and the truth about the role Britain played. They question whether Thatcher’s government sought independent advice on the nature of the attack or were deceived by political propaganda.
Despite David Cameron’s assurance that the Cabinet Secretary will carry out an investigation, this has not convinced Amandeep Rai, a spokesperson for the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance, who says it isn’t enough. He argues that “The community is calling for a fully independent inquiry, QC led and with full disclosure of all relevant documents.” Leicester MP’s Jon Ashworth and Liz Kendall have agreed to attend, and Rai hopes the lobby will send a united message to local MPs and the government in general.