This is the first operation of agency sleuths on British soil …writes Aayush Goel
In an unprecedented move, a five membered team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) has flown to London to probe vandalism of Indian High Commission around two months back by Khalistani supporters.
This is the first operation of agency sleuths on British soil and according to a senior NIA official they will be carrying a list of Khalistani activists who orchestrated the attack and will be sharing it with British authorities. The pro-Khalistani activists had attacked the commission to protest against the crackdown on Khalistani separatist Amritpal.
A tricolour flying atop the Indian High Commission in London was attempted to be brought down by a group of protesters waving separatist Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans on March 19. Videos of the incident showed several protesters carrying the yellow and black Khalistan flags and calling for radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh to be “freed”.
The videos also showed one of the protesters climbing up a balcony of the High Commission and pulling down the Indian national flag from the pole at the front of the mission amid cheers from the other men. British policemen arrived on the scene and prevented the protestors from approaching the entrance of the commission. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had in April this year handed over the probe in this case to the NIA. The MHA took the decision to hand over the case to the NIA following a meeting with UK representatives in the same month.
The Centre had amended the NIA Act in August 2019, empowering the agency to investigate terror activities against Indians and Indian interests abroad apart from cyber-crimes and human trafficking.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police had registered an FIR in connection with the protest staged by pro-Khalistani activists at the Indian High Commission in London.
The case was registered after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs asked Delhi Police to take legal action.
The FIR was registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and an investigation has been initiated in the case.
The British Deputy High Commissioner was also summoned by the Centre, demanding an explanation over the complete absence of security during the protest.
The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis had described the incident as “disgraceful” and “totally unacceptable”.