Make Operation Bluestar-related files public: UK judge

Category : UK News
Updated On : June 12, 2018 11:31 PM
By Indian Times Daily

A UK judge has ordered the declassification of documents that are expected to shed further light on Britain's involvement in Operation Bluestar in 1984, dismissing the British government's argument that the move could damage diplomatic ties with India.

Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled on Monday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public and rejected the UK government's argument that declassifying the Downing Street papers would damage diplomatic ties with India.

The judge, however, did accept that one file marked "India: Political", from the UK's Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), could contain information that relates to British spy agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and therefore the Cabinet Office was entitled to rely on a technicality that exempts such material from the Freedom of Information (FOI) request appeal.

"We recognise that the period we are concerned with was a highly sensitive one in India's recent history and the strength of feeling it continues to evoke it should also be remembered that the fact that 30 years has gone by is bound to have reduced any prejudice that may have resulted from release of the withheld material," the judgment notes.

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