Probe into SAS role in Golden Temple massacre marred by nepotism, says Declassified UK

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By Asia Samachar | Britain |

Segments of the Sikh community had always been suspicious of a 2014 British probe into the role of the SAS in the lead up to the 1984 Indian army attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar which killed hundreds if not thousands of people.

The report was a whitewash, they claimed. Now, some evidence has emerged that it may just have been so.

Their scepticism now appears valid, as it transpires that Britain’s most senior civil servant Jeremy Heywood gave the son of Margaret Thatcher’s top foreign policy adviser a central role in carrying out the 2014 review.

Hugh Powell – whose father Charles was Thatcher’s private secretary – was selected by Heywood to help conduct the probe, despite the obvious risk of bias.

The revelation is contained in a recently published book by Heywood’s widow, Suzanne. Her admission torpedoes repeated assurances from the Foreign Office that there were no conflicts of interest in the Heywood Review, reports Declassified UK.

It will put pressure on Rishi Sunak, Britain’s first prime minister of Indian descent, to hold an independent inquiry, at a time when he wants to secure closer commercial ties with New Delhi, the portal added.

Declassified UK investigates Britain’s military and intelligence agencies, its most powerful corporations and its impact on human rights and the environment.

Its chief reporter Phil Miller first broke the story 30 years ago when he uncovered evidence the Thatcher administration had sent an SAS officer to advise Indian forces on the operation at the Sikh faith’s holiest site. The revelation in 2014 caused outcry and forced the then prime minister David Cameron to order an investigation by Heywood.

Heywood’s review concluded, much to the relief of the Conservative Party, that the SAS officer’s advice had little impact on the actual conduct of India’s raid. But Sikh groups condemned the review as a “whitewash”.

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RELATED STORY:

British government ‘covered up’ its role in Amritsar massacre in India – The Observer (Asia Samachar, 29 Oct 2017)

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