India Abroad

Declassify Operation Blue Star Files, UK Court Orders British Cabinet

ANANYA BHATNAGAR | 0
1515
| June 13 , 2018 , 11:41 IST

A UK court on Monday ordered that the Britain Cabinet to declassify files relating to Operation Blue Star and Indian Army’s action in the Golden Temple in June 1984.

The court ordered the cabinet to take the action to ascertain Britain’s involvement in the corresponding operation carried out by the Indian Forces. The British government earlier had refused to declassify that files saying that this may hamper the diplomatic relationship between Indian and Britain.

Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled on Monday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public.

The judgement notes, "We recognise that the period we are concerned with was a highly sensitive one in India's recent history and the strength of feeling it continues to evoke... it should also be remembered that the fact that 30 years has gone by is bound to have reduced any prejudice that may have resulted from release of the withheld material."

According to media reports, the files that are to be released in full include papers on UK-India relations from 1983 to 1985, covering a meeting between Thatcher and Indira Gandhi’s adviser, L K Jha, the situation in Punjab, Sikh activities and the assassination of Gandhi in October 1984.

Media reports say that freelance journalist Phil Miller moved The Information Tribunal under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in August 2016 when four files of the Margret Thatcher regime that had to be de-classified were withheld by the government.

Miller had discovered documents that showed that Thatcher has secretly sent a Special Air Service (SAS) officer to advise the Indian army just before Operation Blue Star was launched. This file too was later withdrawn from the National Archives.