An unhappy catalogue of lost (or concealed) archives….
Records relating to the British Army’s help in Operation Bluestar (Amritsar 1984) destroyed!
Martin Horwood (Cheltenham, Liberal Democrat)
Given the distress that is felt by the Sikh community and its desire for clarity on the events at Sri Harmandir Sahib, it is obviously very regrettable that a key file was destroyed in 2009. Will the Foreign Secretary tell the House at what level oversight would have been exercised or permission given for the destruction of that file? Do we need to review the procedures to ensure that such sensitive and important material is not destroyed in future? Hansard 4 February 2014
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has hoarded 1.2m files – some of them dating back to the 1840s – in breach of the 30-year rule of the Public Records Act, which should have seen them transferred to the National Archive…The FCO is not the only government department that has been unlawfully hoarding public records. Earlier this year the Guardian disclosed that the Ministry of Defence was holding 66,000 files at an archive in the Midlands, in breach of the Public Records Act.”
“In Northern Rhodesia, colonial officials were issued with further orders to destroy ‘all papers which are likely to be interpreted, either reasonably or by malice, as indicating racial prejudice or religious bias on the part of Her Majesty’s government’….Officials in Aden were told to start burning in 1966, a full 12 months before the eventual British withdrawal…In British Guiana, a shortage of ‘British officers of European ’ resulted in the ‘hot and heavy’ task falling to two secretaries, using a fire in an oil drum in the grounds of Government House. Eventually the army agreed to lend a hand….” From Ian Cobain’s article in the Guardian (29 November 2013) ’Revealed: the bonfire of papers at the end of Empire’
According to historian Mattia Toaldo, papers on Gaddafi deputy Abdesalam Jalloud now no longer to be found in Italian state archives!
In the old horse stable of the Lahore Civil Secretariat, in dark, moldy, dingy conditions, lies this amazing collection, all official record let me clarify, of over 70,000 rare books and under one million rare manuscripts and documents, piles upon piles, on the floor, on old broken desks, in cupboards without glass panes. The stink and humidity overwhelms the senses. Only in the British Museum Library of London is there a better collection, all kept in mint condition. They respect our rich history. In terms of our own history, we are the wretched of the earth.
For a digital archive collection including magazines produced by Muslims in Britain click here (141)