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Declassify Files Related to June-1984 Holocaust, UK Court directs Cabinet Office
Declassify Files Related to June-1984 Holocaust, UK Court directs Cabinet Office
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Declassify Files Related to June-1984 Holocaust, UK Court directs Cabinet Office
Posted:
13 Jun 2018 08:38 AM PDT

LONDON, Britain—Acting on the petition moved by the freelance journalist Phil Miller, a UK Court on June 12 directed the Britain’s cabinet office to declassify files pertaining to the third holocaust carried out by the Indian army during June-1984. Notably, Phil Miller had approached the Court in August-2016 seeking declassification of files under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
A judge, who presided over a three-day hearing of an information rights tribunal in London in March, ruled that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public. He rejected the UK government’s argument that declassifying the Downing Street papers would damage diplomatic ties with India. A Freedom of Information appeal was filed by freelance journalist Phil Miller. The UK Cabinet Office has been given time until July 11 to appeal against the decision or it must make the relevant documents available to Miller for his research by July 12.
In a three-day hearing in March 2018, the information tribunal heard some arguments in a public hearing and others behind closed doors. The cabinet office gave two main reasons to withhold the files: information that relates to sensitive work and UK-India relations.
Of the four files requested by Miller, the judges unanimously agreed that the government should release more material from the files of the Prime Minister’s office files (PREM) in 10 Downing Street that include: visits to the UK by L.K. Jha, member of the Brandt Commission and adviser to Indira Gandhi; meetings with prime minister Margaret Thatcher and other UK-India relations from July 1983 to March 1985 (PREM 19/1525 INDIA); the situation in Punjab; Sikh extremist activities and the proposed visit of Rajiv Gandhi to the UK and other important events from March 1984 to May 1985 and; the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984 and Thatcher’s visit to the funeral (October-December 1984).
However, the cabinet file (CAB) titled ‘India Political’ (May 1979- August 1984), which could contain information related to the British spy network – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – could be withheld under section 23 which is an absolute exemption.
Miller believes the files contain details of the alleged arms and helicopter deals that were struck during that period, perhaps in lieu of the assistance provided to India for the Operation Blue Star. He is confident that the judges have realized the importance of issues at stake and is optimistic to get some disclosures if not everything and could be embarrassing to the UK government and hence was protected so vigorously.

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