The Sikh Press Association spoke with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the launch of the 2018 British Sikh Report. Hear what he had to say on Labour support for the #FreeJaggiNow case and support for an independent inquiry into British involvement in the Amritsar massacre of 1984.
The Labour Party did not bring up the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, Scottish Sikh detained in India for 173 days without charge, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the UK last week.
The news, confirmed by John McDonnell directly to the Sikh Press Association, will be a great disappointment to #FreeJaggiNow campaign supporters across the world, who pushed for the issue to be address directly with Modi by the UK government. This follows Jagtar Singh’s brother accusing the UK government of a ‘lack of transparency’ in reference to Prime Minister Theresa May claiming she did bring up the case directly with Modi.
McDonnell said on Labour’s involvement on the issue, ‘The case has not been brought up direct with Modi and the conversation has now taken place but it will be one of those issues we are raising more formally.
‘There have been a number of Labour MPs and part of our movement overall who have been concerned about the case and the need for justice and the need for fair treatment, so that will be an issue we take up.’
The MP for Hayes and Harlington also spoke on Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn reaffirming a commitment to have an independent inquiry into UK government involvement in the Indian state perpetrated Amritsar Massacre of 1984, which was officially titled Operation Blue Star.
McDonnell stated on this; ‘Jeremy and I have been campaigning on this issue for over a decade and a half at least and the reason for that is because it is a matter of justice.
‘There will not be justice until we know specifically the role of the British state in what happened. Although there was a commitment from the last government about publishing all documentation we know that didn’t happen, we know things were held back.
‘This will be a stain on this country and the history of India until we get the full truth. There needs to be recognition from both the Indian and UK government about how deeply felt this is not just by the Sikh and wider Punjabi community, but also with all those people concerned about honesty truth openness and transparency.’