Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi with Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Photo: Twitter

Chandigarh (PTI): A British member of parliament (MP) has pitched for an independent inquiry into the role of the UK government in Operation Bluestar, an Indian army action in 1984 to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple.

The UK’s first turban-wearing MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was on a private visit to India.

“As far as 1984 Operation Bluestar is concerned, you know that all felt pain. But we never know that there was any role of the UK government in it. We always thought it was an action taken by the Indian government,” Dhesi said addressing media here.

He claimed that some journalists in the UK while analysing secret documents found “involvement of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.”

“Whether the role was in advisory capacity or something more but when we learnt about it, we were sad because we never thought our government would have any role in it,” the British MP said.

“That is why we are demanding that independent inquiry should be held to establish the extent of then Thatcher government’s involvement in 1984 operation Bluestar,” the Labour Party MP said.

Dhesi said the Conservative Party-led government had earlier ordered an inquiry in this regard. But it was “an eyewash”.

“Neither anything came out of that inquiry nor any document was released. That is why the demand for independent inquiry is growing to put pressure on the UK government,” he said.

The onus for ordering inquiry is entirely on the present UK government, Dhesi said, adding “If the UK government makes any delay in ordering independent inquiry then it will be called as justice delayed, justice denied.”

Dhesi, known as Tan, won his Slough seat to become the UK’s first turban-wearing MP last month.

On the issue of ‘Kirpan’ and Sikhs not being allowed to wear turbans in some counties, the British MP said that he would continue to raise such issues at appropriate platforms.

“It is a matter of great sadness that people cannot practice their faith as they cannot freely wear ‘kirpan’ or turban. In France, more than 80,000 turbaned Sikh soldiers laid down their lives in order to liberate that very country.

And now that very county do not allow turbans. Sikh students cannot go to schools with turban,” he rued.

On being asked about students from Punjab now preferring other countries over the UK, Dhesi criticised the Conservative party led-UK government for being “too harsh” as far as immigration rules were concerned and said immigration rules should be “balanced”.

“We are in favour of having immigration rules which benefit Britain and which are fair. At the moment, Conservative party is being too harsh as we are actually losing out the potential of so many intelligent students (who want to come to the UK). … Conservative party has harmed our economy,” he said.

Asked about ‘Khalistan’ sympathisers in the UK, Dhesi said “It is not a question of supporting any particular ideology.”

He said like in India, people get a chance to express their views and follow any ideology in the UK also, “there is freedom of expression and freedom of speech.”

“Each party, like Congress, SAD, AAP has support base in the UK. It is not correct that people living in UK follow only one ideology,” he stressed.

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