‘Attack on Indian High Commission unacceptable’

UK high commissioner Alexander W. Ellis travelling calls the incident a “disgraceful act”, one arrested for the incident…reports Asian Lite News

A man has been arrested after violent scenes which saw windows smashed at the Indian High Commission in London.

Metropolitan Police officers were called to the building in Aldwych, Westminster, at 1.50pm on Sunday, where two security guards also suffered minor injuries.

Videos on social media showed a man removing the Indian flag from the Commission’s first-floor balcony with a crowd below waving bright yellow “Khalistan” banners appearing to encourage him.

The protesters, who were demonstrating against a crackdown by security forces in Punjab on the Waaris Punjab De (WPD) group, shouted Khalistani slogans, and attempted to enter the High Commission, while one protester climbed up to the Indian High Commission balcony overlooking the street and brought down the national Tricolour.  

The Met has launched an investigation into the incident. A spokesperson for the force said: “Windows were broken at the High Commission building.

“Two members of security staff sustained injuries. These are believed to be minor; they did not require hospital treatment. Officers attended the location. The majority of those present had dispersed prior to the arrival of police,” the spokesperson continued.

“An investigation was launched, and one male was arrested nearby a short time later on suspicion of violent disorder. Inquiries continue.”

The incident was criticised on Twitter by London mayor Sadiq Khan, Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, and the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis.

Khan said: “I condemn the violent disorder and vandalism that took place at the Indian High Commission today.

“There is no place in our city for this kind of behaviour.” Lord Ahmad wrote: “Am appalled by today’s attack on the Indian High Commission in London. This is a completely unacceptable action against the integrity of the mission and its staff. The UK Government will always take the security of the Indian High Commission seriously.”

Ellis said: “I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London – totally unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, in India a senior British diplomat in New Delhi has been summoned after a protest at the Indian High Commission in London.

The Indian foreign ministry issued a statement saying the senior diplomat had been asked to explain “the complete absence of British security”.

The Indian foreign ministry said it expected the UK government to take “immediate steps” and to put measures in place to prevent this incident reoccurring.

PA news agency said crowd members were believed to be supporters of a Sikh separatist movement.

Officers were called to the Indian High Commission at about 13:50 GMT on Sunday.

Upon arrival “the majority of those present had dispersed prior to the arrival of police”, said the Met.

India’s Tricolour reply

A huge Tricolour now adorns the Indian High Commission building in London, shortly after Khalistani supporters pulled down the national flag outside the building to protest the crackdown against Amritpal Singh.

A photograph of the massive national flag stretched across India House in London’s Aldwych has gone viral, with social media users applauding the move.

In September 2019, the Indian high commission’s windows were smashed after a Kashmiri separatist march threw stones and eggs into the protests. India had then termed the incident “unacceptable” and urged the UK to provide adequate security to its officials and premises.

The Khalistan movement refers to the separatist movement that seeks a Sikh nation to be carved out of India called Khalistan. The Khalistan movement waged a bloody insurgency in India for decades, primarily in Punjab, before it finally ebbed in 1990s. Though the armed element ebbed by the ’90s, there exists strong support for the movement abroad, notably in the United Kingdom and Canada, that seeks to incite trouble in India.

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