• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Pro-Khalistan protesters target cops with bottles, ink after security tightened at Indian mission in London

Pro-Khalistan protesters demonstrate behind barricades in front of the Indian high commission in London on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (Picture: Twitter screengrab/@ani)

By: Shubham Ghosh

The Indian high commission in London witnessed more chaos on Wednesday (22) as pro-Khalistan protesters shouted slogans and threw water bottles and ink at the Metropolitan Police as their officers tried to restrict them at a safe distance from the diplomatic premises.

The incident happened three days after an act of vandalism at the mission when pro-Khalistan protesters pulled down the Indian Tricolour and smashed windows at the mission building.

According to reports, the protesters were provoked by the bigger Indian flag that draped over the walls of the India House. Employees of the high commission displayed a gigantic flag hours after Sunday’s act of vandalism. Another huge flag was also put up by the high commission officials atop the building on Wednesday.

The London police appeared prepared for the protesters’ show of strength on Wednesday, deploying personnel in 24 buses as well as the mounted cops, NDTV reported.

The number of protesters grew as the day progressed and by late evening, around 2,000 of them turned up, according to the police. They also tried to break the barricades put up before the mission and targeted the police with water bottles, inks and powered colours. The police said that they would evacuate the spot if the protest intensified more.

Security was beefed up in front of the Indian mission in London after the police in New Delhi removed barricades from outside the British high commission in the Indian capital, seen by many as a possible tit-for-tat over Sunday’s incident. While the police said the barricades were removed as they were creating inconvenience for commuters, many saw it as an expression of India’s displeasure over the attack on its mission in London.

India lodged a strong protest over Sunday’s vandalism and sought explanation from a senior British diplomat over the lack of security at the diplomatic premises. The protest took place a day after a manhunt was launched for Khalistan separatist Amritpal Singh in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

“An explanation was demanded for the complete absence of the British security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises,” India’s external affairs ministry said.

The tightening of security at the Indian mission also came ahead of a planned protest on Wednesday.

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