By: Shubham Ghosh
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday (20) appealed to Sikh bodies to “isolate” Khalistani supporters and condemn the incident in London where some Khalistani activists pulled down the Indian Tricolour from the Indian high commission building.
The incident happened hours after the police in the northern Indian state of Punjab launched a massive manhunt for Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh.
British high commissioner to India Alex Ellis also condemned the incident on Twitter saying, “I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London – totally unacceptable.”
I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London – totally unacceptable.
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWEllis) March 19, 2023
One person was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after people assembled and a window was shattered at the high commission building.
Metropolitan police officers were deployed at the building in Aldwych, Westminster at about 1.50 pm local time on Sunday.
Two security guards sustained minor injuries, according to The Guardian.
Footage on social media showed a man detaching the Tricolour from the building’s first-floor balcony while a crowd standing below waving bright yellow “Khalistan” banners appeared to cheer him. The people are believed to be supporters of a Sikh separatist movement seeking a breakaway state.
The Guardian reported that the Met launched a probe into the incident.
“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,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
“Officers attended the location. The majority of those present had dispersed prior to the arrival of police.
“An investigation was launched, and one male was arrested nearby a short time later on suspicion of violent disorder. Inquiries continue.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, and Lord Tariq Ahmad, minister of state foreign Commonwealth & development affairs (South Asia, Middle East, North Africa, UN, Human Rights) also condemned the incident.
“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. An investigation has been launched by the Met into today’s events,” Khan was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“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,” tweeted Lord Ahmad.
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.
— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) March 19, 2023
India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA) summoned the British deputy high commissioner in India to protest the incident.
In a tweet, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “India lodges strong protest with UK”.
The ministry also issued a strongly-worded statement in which it said India found “unacceptable” the alleged indifference of the UK government to the security of the Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in that country.