Jeremy Heywood, the senior civil servant who wrote the report investigating UK involvement in Operation Blue Star, has died of lung cancer.
The former cabinet secretary died aged 56 on Sunday.
Whilst serving former prime minister David Cameron, he was tasked with investigating the UK link to the 1984 Indian operation at Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar after files from the Thatcher government, declassified in 2014, revealed that Britain had sent an SAS officer to India in February, ahead of Operation Blue Star, to “draw up a plan to remove Sikh extremists from the Temple”.
This provoked uproar among the Sikh community who demanded an investigation.
His report, known as the Heywood Review and published in February 2014, found “no record of any assistance to the June 1984 operation called ‘Blue Star’ by the Indian government other than the limited military advice provided in mid-February”.
He wrote: “The UK government did send one military officer to provide military advice on Indian contingency plans for an operation at Sri Harmandir Sahib. This military advice was a one-off. It was not sustained.
There was no other UK military assistance, such as training or equipment, given to the Indians with Operation Blue Star.
There were significant differences between the actual June operation, and the advice from the UK military officer in February.”
At the 35th Annual International Sikh Convention held in the West Midlands in September, at which more than 10,000 Sikhs and more than 200 gurdwaras were represented, a resolution was passed that Sikhs were “misled” by the 2014 Heywood Review.
The resolution demanded “an independent public inquiry” into UK government involvement in the 1984 operation and “anti–Sikh” measures of the 1980s.
The Sikh Federation (UK) tweeted on Tuesday:
“At a personal level death of a loved one, especially to cancer is very sad and our thoughts/prayers are with his friends/family.
However, the worldwide Sikh community will remember Jeremy Heywood for the cover-up of UK involvement in the 1984 Sikh Genocide.”
British Sikh millionaire Rami Ranger CBE told TOI: “I don’t think we should blame a civil servant for the report.
The decision was made by the political leaders.
I blame the then Indian government for using the Indian Army against its own people to attack the Golden Temple.
We cannot blame him for trying to find out the truth.”