Thousands march in London to commemorate 40 years since Amritsar massacre

Thousands of British Sikhs have marched in central London to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1984 Amritsar massacre.

thousands march in london to commemorate 40 years since amritsar massacre

Sikhs protest over the 40th anniversary of the Amritsar massacre in London

The Sikh community showed up in their masses for an issue that is of huge significance to their community.

In 1984, the Indian army stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar - the holiest shrine for Sikhs - with the aim of removing armed Sikh dissidents who sought the creation of an independent homeland, called Khalistan.

The operation ended in bloodshed with hundreds of civilians killed.

The Indian government has in the past said that the operation was carried out against militants and not the Sikh community.

Some 40 years on, there remains anger - not just against the Indian government, but also the British government.

In 2014, declassified documents released under the 30-year rule revealed that the British government at the time sent an SAS officer to help guide the Indian government with the attack.

thousands march in london to commemorate 40 years since amritsar massacre

Chants of 'Khalistan' were heard in Trafalgar Square

The secret documents also suggested that the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher knew the SAS was advising the Indian government.

Labour have promised an independent judge-led inquiry into the role Britain played if they get into power, according to the principal adviser of the Sikh Federation UK, Dabinderjit Singh.

The party's deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted on 1 June: "Labour stands with the Sikh community in calling for an inquiry into the historic role Britain played," adding: "A Labour government will work to determine the best way to find out the truth."

thousands march in london to commemorate 40 years since amritsar massacre

Sikhs protest over the 40th anniversary of the Amritsar massacre in London

The Sikh Federation UK - which organised the march - said it expects an inquiry to start later this year, if a Labour government is elected.

Speaking to Sky News at the rally, Dabinderjit Singh said: "I think 40 years later, we're hopeful an incoming Labour government will give us the truth, the truth of the UK government's involvement.

"But ultimately it's about justice and freedom, and we don't think we'll ever get justice in India until we have our own Sikh homeland."

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