Khalistan supporters throw bottles, flares at Indian mission in London
At least a hundred police officials stood guard outside the High Commission.
Around 2,000 protestors, many of them waving Khalistan flags, held a demonstration in front of the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday against the crackdown on Sikh group Waris Punjab De, PTI reported.
Khalistan refers to an independent Sikh state sought by some groups.
Some of the protestors hurled coloured flares and water bottles towards the High Commission building and towards police officials and mediapersons. Security had been tightened up at the Indian mission in the wake of an earlier pro-Khalistan demonstration there, during which a protestor had pulled down the tricolour.
After the incident, a larger Indian flag was draped over the walls of the India House in London, which caused anger among the protestors.
On Wednesday, videos showed the protestors shouting pro-Khalistan slogans from behind police barricades.
Meanwhile, some individuals, believed to be staff members at the Indian High Commission, waved black flags at the protestors, The Hindu reported.
The Metropolitan Police said that adequate security was in place for the protest. At least a hundred police officials stood guard outside the High Commission.
Commenting on the protest, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that acts of violence aimed at the Indian High Commission were unacceptable.
“The police investigation is ongoing and we are in close contact with the Indian High Commission in London and the Indian Government in New Delhi,” he said. “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 today’s demonstration.”
After the pulling down of the Indian flag on Sunday, New Delhi had summoned British Deputy High Commissioner Christina Scott and sought an explanation for the lapse in security. On Wednesday, barricades meant for security outside the British High Commission and the residence of the UK ambassador in New Delhi were removed.
Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh, who heads the organisation Waris Punjab De, has been on the run since Saturday when the state police launched an operation to arrest him.
The crackdown on Singh started after he and his supporters stormed a police station in Amritsar on February 23 following the arrest of one of the separatist preacher’s aides for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping.
The Waris Punjab De leader has garnered a significant following through his speeches that often focussed on Punjab’s youth and religion. He has also given several interviews supporting demands for Khalistan.