UK: Thousands of Sikh voters could boycott Conservative candidates at next year’s general election in protest at David Cameron’s refusal to launch a public inquiry into Britain’s role in the 1984 Amritsar massacre.
Sikh groups said their members were “angry” that the Prime Minister had failed to meet with them to discuss their concerns over the narrow scope of a Whitehall review into the atrocity at the city’s Golden Temple.
Mr Cameron has been given a deadline of this Thursday to agree to an urgent meeting with representatives of the Sikh Federation or face a mass protest outside Downing Street and political consequences at future election.
Britain’s estimated 700,000 Sikhs tend to live in large communities in urban areas which include some marginal constituencies in parts of London, Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.
The Sikh Federation is this weekend launching a mass letter-writing campaign in which worshippers at temples across the country will be urged to write to their MPs demanding that they back calls for a full public inquiry.
MPs who refuse to support the call are likely to be banned from Sikh temples and will face losing the votes of Sikhs in their constituencies, a spokesman for the Federation.
A mass protest in Westminster is expected to be called for Thursday if Mr Cameron refused requests for an urgent meeting to discuss the issue.
The federation says it has already secured the backing of 50 MPs and Members of the European Parliament and aims to have 100 such supporters within a week.
Mr Cameron announced last month that Britain’s alleged involvement in the massacre of hundreds of Sikh separatists in an Indian temple in 1984 would be urgently investigated.
Documents disclosed under the 30 year rule revealed that an SAS officer was drafted in to help the Indian authorities with plans to remove dissident Sikhs from the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
The plan was ordered with the full knowledge of Margaret Thatcher, according to letters between the Foreign Office and the former prime minister’s private secretary.
Hundreds of Sikhs – many of them pilgrims – were killed in the attack, called “Blue Star”, which plunged the country into some of the worst violence in its history.
A few months after the massacre, Indira Gandhi, India’s Prime Minister, was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards in what was regarded as a revenge attack.
The Sikh Federation has criticised the scope of the latest inquiry into the massacre, saying it covers only any British complicity in the first part of 1984 – not in the latter half of the year at the time of the massacre, in early June 1984.
The inquiry, which concluded earlier this month, found that Britain’s involvement had only a “limited impact” on the attack.
Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation, said: “We already have the support of over 50 politicians for an independent public inquiry from across the political spectrum. In the next few days we are confident this number will increase to over 100.
“Many Conservative politicians in Labour target seats whilst not yet supporting the inquiry are under enormous pressure as we have now started to gain the support of prospective parliamentary candidates who are their main rivals.”