On Thursday, 21st November the Labour party in its manifesto for the upcoming General Election has pledged to institute an audit into the UK's colonial past. According to the manifesto, titled It’s Time for Real Change, the Party will apologise to India for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar.
The document also commits Labour to constitute a judge-led inquiry into the UK's "injustices of the past", including a public review of the country’s role in Operation Blue Star – referred to as the “Amritsar massacre”.
“We will issue a formal apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and hold a public review into Britain’s role in the Amritsar massacre,” notes the manifesto under Effective Diplomacy.
In 2014, declassified UK government documents had revealed that British military advice was given to Indian forces prior to Indian Army intervention at the Golden Temple. There have been calls for a public inquiry into the exact nature of that advice from some British Sikh groups over the years.
The Labour Party in its manifesto has also drawn plans to prioritise conflict prevention and build peace. It makes a specific reference to the Kashmir conflict in the sub-continent.
“The Conservatives have failed to play a constructive role in resolving the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, including in Kashmir, Yemen and Myanmar, and the escalation of tensions with Iran,” the manifesto notes.
The Party has faced considerable flak from Indian diaspora groups after a resolution was passed at its party conference in September, which implied a call for international intervention in the region.
As part of wider plans for a “New Internationalism”, the party says that within its first year of being elected to the UK Parliament, it would “conduct an audit of the impact of Britain’s colonial legacy to understand our contribution to the dynamics of violence and insecurity across regions previously under British colonial rule”.
The manifesto launch has been hailed by Corbyn as his party’s radical offering for the electorate in next month’s election, which would transform the UK and re-nationalise rail, mail, water and energy.
UK's former prime minister Theresa May had earlier expressed “deep regret” for the colonial era attack on Vaisakhi to coincide with Jallianwala Bagh Massacre's 100th anniversary this year.