The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday responded to the demonstrations staged by Khalistan supporters as around 2,000 of them descended upon the Indian High Commission in London waving Khalistan flags, chanting slogans amid a heightened security presence and barricades.
“Acts of violence towards staff at the Indian High Commission in London are unacceptable and I have made our position clear to the High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami. The police investigation is ongoing and we are in close contact with the Indian High Commission in London and the Indian Government in Delhi,” James Cleverly said in a statement.
He further mentioned that the UK is working with the Metropolitan Police to review security at the Indian High Commission, and will make the changes needed to ensure the safety of its staff “as we did for today’s demonstration.” “We will always take the security of the High Commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this,” he added.
The UK Foreign Secretary stressed that relations between the two countries are “driven by the deep personal connections between our two countries, is thriving.” “Our joint 2030 Roadmap guides our relationship and shows what we can achieve when we work together, creating new markets and jobs for the two countries and helping to tackle shared challenges. We want to build deeper ties between the UK and India for the future,” he stated.
Indian High Commission Unfurls Additional Humongous Tricolour In Response To Protest
As per news agency PTI, the protesters were barricaded across the road, unlike the violent disorder on Sunday when India House came under attack. Uniformed officers standing guard were patrolling the area throughout. The protesters were bused in from different parts of the UK and chanted pro-Khalistan slogans.
In its response, the Indian High Commission unfurled an additional humongous tricolour on the roof of its building. As per PTI, it appeared to rile the protesters further who then hurled coloured flares and water bottles towards the mission building.
VIDEO | After fresh protests by Khalistan supporters, Indian High Commission unfurls a bigger Indian flag than the previous one on the roof of the building in London. pic.twitter.com/HHAjYw52q4
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 22, 2023
Scotland Yard further blockaded the area outside India House and several additional uniformed and mounted officers on horseback were deployed immediately to the area.
The so-called “National Protest” was organised by groups such as the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) and Sikh Youth Jathebandia.
After the Sunday incident, the Indian government registered a strong protest over the lack of security measures at its diplomatic mission, which ended in Khalistan flag-waving protesters smashing the windows of the Indian High Commission and attempting to pull down the Tricolour.
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Several uniformed officers have been patrolling the area in Aldwych since then and Metropolitan Police vans have been stationed at India Place.
Wednesday’s planned demonstration claims to be in response to alleged discriminatory actions of Punjab Police in the operation to nab pro-Khalistan radical preacher Amritpal Singh.
The Indian High Commission in London has been working to counter disinformation circulating around developments in Punjab, related to enforcement action against the separatist group ‘Waris Punjab De’.
“Let me assure all our friends here in the UK, especially brothers and sisters with relatives in Punjab, that there is no truth to the sensationalist lies being circulated on social media,” Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami said in a video posted on Twitter.
HC @VDoraiswami addressing on the situation in Punjab. @MEAIndia @sujitjoyghosh @ANI @ndtv @CGI_Bghm pic.twitter.com/KA4kOBUQ8d
— India in the UK (@HCI_London) March 21, 2023
“The situation in your ancestral homeland is not what is being reported. The elected chief minister of the state and the local police authorities have put out detailed information, including interviews on television, please watch these. Do not believe the small handful of people putting out fiction and disinformation,” he added.
British Sikh MPs, Labour Party’s Tanmanjeet Singh and Preet Kaur Gill, were among those to express concern for their UK constituents with relatives in Punjab.