On March 19, a group of Khalistan supporters demonstrated outside the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom(UK), sloganeering with flags and posters of separatist leader and Waris Punjab De Chief Amritpal Singh. The posters, with Singh’s photo, said: FreeAmritpalSingh, WeWantJustice, WeStandWithAmritpalSingh.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after crowds gathered and a window was smashed at the Indian High Commission in London. Footage posted on social media showed a man detaching the Indian flag from the first-floor balcony of the building while a crowd of people below waving bright yellow “Khalistan” banners appeared to encourage him. They also took down India’s national flag from the building that housed New Delhi’s diplomatic mission at Aldwych in central London.
The police came in to break up the protests. However, the agitators continued with their sloganeering, chanting, “Indian Government, shame, shame”.
Following the vandalism at the Indian High Commission, the UK High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, tweeted his condemnation of the events. He wrote, “I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the Indian High Commission – totally unacceptable.”
British Deputy High Commissioner Christina Scott was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in view of the incident as High Commissioner Alex Ellis was out of Delhi, sources said. It sought immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in today’s incident.
“The senior-most UK diplomat in New Delhi was summoned late evening today to convey India’s strong protest at the actions taken by separatist and extremist elements against the Indian High Commission in London earlier in the day,” the MEA said.
The MEA said the diplomat was reminded of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the 1961 Vienna Convention.
The High Commission of India in London came under attacks from pro-Khalistan Sikh activists in the past too. Reportedly, there are instances where such pro-Pakistani protesters joined to vandalise the “India House” to protest against the August 5, 2019 move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and to split the state into two Union Territories.
Similar violent protests by the Khalistanis were also seen in front of the High Commission of India in London during the August 2020 – December 2021 agitation by the farmers against the erstwhile agricultural laws introduced by the Modi Government.
The Government of India, in the past, has emphasised the need for the UK Government to take action against the Khalistani extremist groups. Such incidents not only violate international norms but also threaten the safety and security of diplomatic personnel. Khalistani extremist groups have been carrying out attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in various countries, including indulging in violence.
In fact, the past few months have seen Khalistani violence increasing in Australia also, a matter which PM Modi publically raised with Australian PM Albanese during his visit to Delhi a few weeks ago.
Glancing at the reign of terror spreading across by Khalistani loyalists is alarming. These destabilising forces would do anything to secede and gung ho for a bloodbath in the name of their objectives.