A 1984 Sikh Genocide Remembrance Book in Parliament that MPs have been signing through a week of remembrance will stay open next week, offering more opportunity for parliamentarians to sign it.
The book was opened by Preet Kaur Gill, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs and the first female Sikh MP, to commemorate the Sikhs killed in the 1984 Sikh Genocide, which was triggered by events in Amritsar 34 years ago this week.
June 1984 saw the Indian army attack Sri Harmandir Sahib, one of the Sikh’s holiest sites, as well as various other places in Punjab, killing thousands of Sikhs. Thousands more Sikhs were then massacred across India in November.
By signing the book, MPs have been expressing their sympathies for the Sikh victims of genocide and, according to Sikh community political lobbying group The Sikh Federation, showing support for Section 9 of the Sikh Manifesto which calls for:
- UK Government recognition of the events of June and November 1984 as Sikh Genocide and backing for a UN-led inquiry into the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities
- The UK Government and MPs accept the series of events in June 1984, the killings and disappearances in the months that followed and the systematic and deliberate killing of innocent Sikhs in November 1984, separately and collectively constitute Genocide
- The UK Government joins other countries to call for a UN-led inquiry into the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities in 1984.
- The UK Government backs relevant UN rapporteurs and independent experts to carry out independent investigations into the torture, disappearances, false encounters, extra-judicial executions and use by the police of criminals, goons, gangsters and smugglers to impersonate Sikh ‘militants’, widely known as Black Cats.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to an independent inquiry into UK involvement in the attack on Darbar Sahib. His message in the book said:
‘We remember the thousands of Sikhs murdered and displaced especially by the mass killing in 1984 at the Golden Temple. The Labour Party will honour their memory by instigating an independent investigation into that killing and the allegations of UK involvement. I urge the Prime Minister to launch a new investigation to bring justice to those who have been awaiting answers to their questions for over 30 years.’
Preet Kaur Gill MP paid tribute to those who signed, saying: ‘Parliamentarians across the House have this week come together to sign the Sikh Genocide Remembrance Book. It was great to have Jeremy Corbyn, who is a strong supporter of human rights, pledge his support to the Sikh community on an independent investigation into the then government role in Operation Bluestar.’
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, MP for Slough and the country’s first turbaned Sikh MP, wrote a message saying that ‘it is deplorable that justice has not been given to the victims and their families even after more than three decades.’
The book was also signed by Martin Docherty Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, whose constituent Jagtar Singh Johal has been held in Indian custody for over 200 days with no sign of due process.
Other signatories include Deputy Commons Speaker Rosie Winterton, MP for Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma and Feltham and Heston MP Seema Malhotra.
The book is accompanied by copies of Sacrificing Sikhs, the report commissioned by the Sikh Federation into UK government involvement into the 1984 Amritsar massacre based on declassified government files.