London: As per media reports Sikh Federation UK have initiated the process for a judicial review in Britain’s alleged involvement in Indian Army Attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, in Jun 1984.
Lawyers representing the Sikh group over its demand for a public inquiry into the exact nature of Britain’s alleged involvement in Army Attack have initiated the process.
KRW Law, which is representing Sikh Federation (UK), sent its “pre-action protocol” letter for a judicial review in the case to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) this week. It follows an earlier request by the group for a public inquiry being refused and the process could now end up in the UK High Court.
“The fact that military assistance was provided in the run-up to the Amritsar Massacre (sic) is a matter of significant public concern…It is plain that to address public concern about what did or may have happened, a full inquiry needs to take place into the events of 1984,” the letter notes.
The move comes as a UK tribunal continues to hear evidence from FCO officials on reasons that prevented them from releasing classified British government files related to the military operation at Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar into the public domain over 30 years later. “This remains a sensitive issue and release of the information could have a detrimental effect on our ties with India,” said Owen Jenkins, former FCO Director for South Asia and Afghanistan, at the First Tier Tribunal hearing in London today, reads a note in The Tribune .
Much of his evidence and that of Philip Barton, FCO director-general (consular and security), was given in a closed session due to the “sensitivity” of the material which they said could cause “risk of damage” to international relations.
“The UK government’s position is untenable and we will make this argument strongly in our submissions. But granted the unjust advantage given to the government who holds the information with closed justice procedures excluding us from the proceedings, we rely upon the independent tribunal to push the British government to justify its untenable position,” said Christopher Stanley of KRW Law, which is representing freelance journalist Phil Miller during the hearing.
The UK government has claimed that the documents cannot be viewed entirely in a historical context as they have implications on politically sensitive issues of today. Jenkins told the tribunal that 92 per cent of the material had already been made public.
However, Miller’s research indicates that this figure refers to a very limited set of documents from the PM’s office files, whereas a vast set of UK Cabinet office files dating between 1979 and 1985 remain secret.