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British Minister Apologises Over Flag Incident

CHOGM Formal Opening by Jay Allen.

Anti-India protesters are going violent under the cover of freedom of expression during major Indian events, especially during the visit of high level Indian leaders

Britain’s Foreign Office Minister Mark Field apologised as a group of pro-Khalistani and Kashmiri separatists torn an Indian flag at Parliament Square and intimidated a senior Indian-origin TV reporter during the protests at the Squre.

Soon after the incident, UK officials arranged for a replacement flag to be put up as quickly as possible after the incident. There were widespread criticism over the way Metropolitan Police officers handled the case.  Major incidents were avoided by the interference of some Indian-origin British citizens. The Khalistani and the Kashmiri protesters were very much aggressive on Indian media present at the square.

“While people have the right to hold peaceful protests, we are disappointed with the action taken by a small minority in Parliament Square and contacted High Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as soon as we were made aware,” a Foreign & Commonwealth Office Spokesman said in a statement. “The visit to the UK by Prime Minister Modi has strengthened our relationship with India and we look forward to working even more closely together on a number of important areas.”

Pro-Khalistani activists intimidating Aaj Tak/India Today journalist Loveena Tandon at Parliament Square

The Indian community in London was shocked as a group lowered the Indian flag displayed at the Parliament Square along with other 52 nations to mark the 25th meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Loveena Tandon of Aaj Tak/India Today was visibly seen protesting against a turban-wearing man for insulting Indian flag. There are videos showing the man and his friends cutting the flag from the pole. Another female journalist also complained about the same group which desecrated an Indian flag during another protest near India House at Holborn. She was also threatened by the same group.

Indian Journalist Association, one of the oldest media forums in Europe, is planning to file a complaint against the culprits.  The organisation, led by Mr Ashis Ray, the senior most Indian origin journalist in Europe, condemned the attack on journalists.

 by . “Reports of intimidation against and manhandling of a few of our members by political protesters in central London on 18 April have been brought to our notice,” IJA said in a statement. “Indian Journalists’ Association’s constitution obliges the organisation to defend the right of our members to freely discharge their professional duties.

“Therefore, IJA strongly condemns the threats and violence faced by concerned members from anti-India demonstrators. We also call upon the British police to bring to book wrongdoers upon receiving any complaint on the matter from our members.”

Anti-India protesters are going violent under the cover of freedom of expression during major Indian events, especially during the visit of high level Indian leaders.



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