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Southampton Sikhs join protest against massacre
HUNDREDS of Sikhs from Hampshire marched through the streets of London in a protest over the storming of India’s Golden Temple 30 years ago.
More than 200 people from Sikh gurdwaras in Southampton were part of a contingent in London to protest about a massacre at the temple in Amritsar in India in 1984 where hundreds of people were killed.
The vice-president of the Gurdwara Nanaksar in Peterborough Road, Amrik Sandhu, organised five coaches to the capital to join more than 40,000 people who took part in demonstrations.
Mr Sandhu said the protest was part of a bid to force the British Government to recognise the event as an act of genocide, and followed a report which cited British involvement.
On the orders of the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, the Indian army was sent into the Golden Temple complex – the holiest shrine for Sikhs – to flush out militants in the first week of June 1984.
In the massacre and subsequent killings, Sikhs claim thousands of people were killed.
Mr Sandhu said: “It should be recognised as genocide. It was pre-planned, they knew people were going to be there and they sent the Indian army in.
“People were forced to shoot their own parents. It is nothing but genocide. They just wanted to eliminate Sikhism from India.”
Recently British Sikhs have been further angered by the suggestion in previously secret papers published by the UK Government in January that an SAS officer was recruited to help plan the operation.
In February, an investigation by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood found that British military advice was given to India ahead of the attack but it had only “limited impact”.
Mr Sandhu added Sikhs in this country believe there has been a cover-up and want to know the true extent of British involvement.
He said: “There were some files missing, some were burnt. There’s some sort of cover-up going on. We just want some investigation into what happened with British involvement. We are not happy.”
The London march, from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, was led by five Sikhs in ceremonial dress with swords drawn.
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