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Britain says no evidence yet of SAS role in Golden Temple attack

Devotees walk inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar January 14, 2014. REUTE
Devotees walk inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar January 14, 2014. REUTE

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday he had not so far seen any evidence that the government of Margaret Thatcher had helped India plan a deadly attack against Sikh separatists in the Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1984.

Cameron ordered a review into the matter after newly released official papers suggested that Thatcher, then prime minister, had sent an officer in Britain's elite SAS special air service to advise the Indians on the raid.

"I would note that so far there has not been any evidence to contradict the insistence by senior Indian army commanders responsible at the time that the responsibility for this was planned and carried out solely by the Indian Army," Cameron told parliament.

Sikh groups have said they were shocked by the idea that Britain may have been involved in the attack, a bloody episode which angered Sikhs around the world and triggered the revenge assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Cameron said on Wednesday he wanted the review to establish whether Britain had been involved in any way.

The death toll remains disputed, with Indian authorities putting it in the hundreds and Sikh groups in the thousands.

(Reporting by William James and Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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