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HOME SECRETARY Sajid Javid has rejected a proposal from the Bishop of Sheffield to set up an independent panel to investigate what happened to miners during the police riot at Orgreave.
The Rt Rev Dr Peter Wilcox said an investigation into the events of June 18 1984 by an independent panel would “serve the public interest.”
South Yorkshire Police herded thousands of striking miners into a field near Orgreave cokeworks at Rotherham in South Yorkshire as they tried to picket the plant during the miners’ strike.
Massed ranks of armoured police faced the miners on three sides. The miners were first attacked by cavalry, then by baton-wielding police on foot.
Hundreds of miners were injured, many suffering wounds to the back of the head as they were struck from behind as they tried to flee.
Ninety-five miners were charged with riot, which could carry a life sentence. All 95 cases were thrown out of court after police collusion in compiling evidence was exposed.
In December 2012 the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign (OTJC) was launched, inspired by campaigners who exposed police failures leading to the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster.
But the government has steadfastly refused to investigate what happened at Orgreave.
Dr Wilcox said: “I am convinced that an independent panel would serve the public interest by securing maximum possible disclosure of relevant documentation and explaining what the documents reveal.
“Such a process would have considerable support in this region.”
Orgreave campaigners expressed disappointment at Mr Javid’s decision — but vowed to fight on.
OTJC chair Chris Hockney said: “It’s a real kick in the teeth, not just for us but for all the people and institutions who Bishop Pete has approached and who, like us, believe there’s a real need to address this part of history so mining communities can get truth and justice.”
Former miner Kevin Horne, who was arrested at Orgreave, said: “It is 35 years since the strike, and I think the government hopes we’ll take this to our graves.”
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