• Tuesday, February 27, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Khalistan protests: Security beefed up around Indian mission in UK

Two security staff suffered minor injuries and an arrest was made for violent disorder (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

On Monday (20) increased security measures were implemented around the Indian High Commission following an act of vandalism committed by Khalistan supporters on Sunday (19).

Scotland Yard detained one person in relation to the incident. India has requested that the UK take swift action to arrest and prosecute all individuals involved in the attack.

During the attack, the protesters, who were waving Khalistan flags and shouting pro-Khalistan slogans, attempted to remove the Indian tricolour flag from atop the High Commission.

Following the violent disorder, police arrested one individual in connection with the incident.

In New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra has expressed India’s strong demand that the UK promptly arrest and prosecute all those responsible for the removal of the Indian flag from its mission in London. Kwatra has emphasised the need for sufficient security measures to be implemented at the Indian High Commission and conveyed India’s protest to British authorities.

After the incident, the Indian government summoned the highest-ranking British diplomat in Delhi to provide an explanation for the apparent “absence of security” at the Indian mission.

During a media briefing, Kwatra confirmed that the British Deputy High Commissioner was summoned and India demanded that those responsible for the incident in London on Sunday be promptly “arrested and prosecuted.”

In addition to the attack on the Indian High Commission in London, a group of pro-Khalistan protesters also vandalised and damaged the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on the same day. Indian-Americans strongly condemned the attack and called for immediate action against the perpetrators.

While on Monday (20), supporters of Khalistan rallied outside the Australian parliament in Canberra to demonstrate against the police’s crackdown on Amritpal Singh, a radical preacher, and his associates in Punjab.

Officials from the mission said a failed attack was foiled at India House, with a larger tricolour now flying. Two security staff suffered minor injuries and an arrest was made for violent disorder.

The Metropolitan Police have launched an investigation and declined to comment on additional security measures.

Scotland Yard responded to reports of disorder and arrested a man as investigations continue. Windows were broken at the High Commission building and an investigation has been launched. Diaspora groups, including several gurdwaras, condemned the violence.

British Sikh community leaders, including Jaswinder Kumar and Gurmail Singh, issued a joint statement condemning the use of violence and threats against the Indian High Commission staff and forcefully trying to remove the national flag of India. They emphasised that such actions only damage the ties between the UK and India and community cohesion.

Lord Rami Ranger, a British Sikh House of Lords peer, expressed that the Sikh community is in “shock and disbelief” at the actions of a misguided group that tarnishes the community’s illustrious and patriotic image.

He also pointed out that these actions show disrespect towards the Sikh Gurus who made the ultimate sacrifice for their motherland. The incident on Sunday (19) was similar to radical actions by Khalistan supporters in Canada and Australia.

(With inputs from PTI)

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