The UK government has said that it will “robustly” respond to the “unacceptable” acts of violence and attack by pro-Khalistan protesters on the Indian high commission in London.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (March 22), foreign secretary James Cleverly said the British government takes such matters very seriously. The UK government will review the security at the Indian high commission in London, he said, adding that it will work with the Metropolitan Police to make changes needed to ensure the security of the mission’s staff.
Around 2,000 protesters waving Khalistan flags descended on the Indian mission in London on Wednesday (March 22) for a planned demonstration. They hurled objects and chanted slogans amid a heightened security presence and barricades.
Unlike the violent disorder that had happened on Sunday, when the India House came under attack, the protesters were barricaded across the road from the Indian mission with uniformed officers standing guard and patrolling the area throughout.
The protesters, who included turbaned men, and some women and children, had been brought in buses from different parts of the UK. They chanted pro-Khalistan slogans.
Also read: Indian flag pulled down at London mission by pro-Khalistan supporters
Enhanced security measures at India House
As a sign of the action already taken, the minister cited the heightened security measures in place at India House for a planned demonstration on Wednesday, which included several police officers standing guard outside the building, as well as many mounted officers on horseback patrolling the area along with helicopter surveillance.
“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”, Cleverly said.
He said the police investigation is ongoing and the government is in close contact with the Indian high commission in London and the Indian government in New Delhi. “We are 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 todays demonstration, he said.
“We will always take the security of the Indian high commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this”, he noted.
The minister observed the thriving India-UK relationship, driven by the deep personal connections between our two countries. “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,” Cleverly added.
The statement follows the Indian government’s strong protest over the lack of adequate security measures at its mission in London.
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An evident Met Police presence has been visible around the Indian high commission in Aldwych since the violent disorder on Sunday, when Khalistan flag-waving extremists smashed windows at the mission and attempted to pull down the tricolour from the flagpole.
During Wednesday’s planned demonstration by similar groups chanting anti-India slogans, the protesters were confined to a barricaded area opposite the building. Additional officers were deployed as scenes of charged-up protesters hurling flares and water bottles towards India House unfolded briefly.
The Indian high commission responded to the protest by unfurling a giant national flag to add to several tricolours pinned to its windows and a large national flag unfurled on the facade of the building.
Meanwhile, high commissioner Doraiswami took to Twitter to counter disinformation circulating around developments in Punjab related to enforcement action against the separatist group Waris Punjab De.
He assured British Punjabis that there is no truth to the sensational lies circulated on social media.
In New Delhi, police removed barricades “that created hurdles” for commuters outside the British high commission. However, the security of the diplomatic mission remained intact, officials said on Wednesday.