India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) will investigate the incident involving protests and attempted vandalism of the Indian High Commission in London from last month, officials said on Tuesday (18).
The case was previously registered by the special cell of the Delhi Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, as individuals with Indian nationality abroad engaged in unlawful activities.
However, the NIA will now take over the case, as it is empowered by the amended law governing the anti-terror probe agency in 2019 to investigate any terrorist activity that occurs in foreign countries.
Pro-Khalistani protestors tried to vandalise the Indian High Commission in London and pulled down the national flag while holding protests outside the High Commission complex on March 19.
It happened a day after the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against radical preacher Amritpal Singh in Punjab.
The Counter-Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the case to the NIA and the decision was taken after home secretary Ajay Bhalla held a meeting with representatives of the British government last week.
In the London incident, the tricolour flying atop the Indian High Commission was grabbed at by a group of protesters waving separatist Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans, leading to an arrest.
Officials from the mission said the “attempted but failed” attack had been foiled and that the tricolour was now flying “grander”. The Metropolitan Police said two members of security staff sustained minor injuries which did not require hospital treatment.
India had summoned the British deputy high commissioner based in New Delhi and demanded an explanation over the complete “absence of security”.
In a strongly-worded statement, the ministry of external affairs had said India finds “unacceptable” the indifference of the UK government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel.
Bhalla flagged the issue with a UK delegation which was led by Home Office permanent secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft and “specifically” conveyed New Delhi’s concerns on the misuse of UK’s asylum status by pro-Khalistani elements to abet terrorist activities and requested better cooperation, increased monitoring of extremists and take proactive action.
India’s concerns were also emphasised in that meeting.