Protesters violate Covid-19 regulations to stage anti-India rally at Aldwych, one of the busiest tourism, leisure and shopping districts in London …. reports Kaliph Anaz
A protest rally organised by anti-India activists and fringe groups in London turns aggressive after pro-Khalistan activists tried to break the barricades near India House.
The protesters flout strict Covid-19 rules and tried to break the police barricades to reach India House premises.
The Metropolitan Police draws flak for letting a huge gathering at one of the busiest tourist spots at London’s West End during the Christmas period. The protesters raised pro-Khalistan slogans.
Lord Rami Ranger, the most prominent Sikh politician in the UK and the Chairman of the British Sikh Association, condemned the organisers of the protest for flouting the Covid-19 restrictions.
A fake letter, forging the letter-pad of Lord Ranger, was used to create confusion in the Asian community. The letter along with a poster of Lord Ranger and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was circulated on social media to drum up support for the protest.
Indian officials are also complaining against the lack of proper crowd management and the police’s failure to gauge the anti-India activism in London. India House, one of the prime heritage buildings at Aldwych, was targeted by Pakistan sponsored protest rallies, especially during August 15, India’s Independence Day and January 26, Indian Republic Day. Few people are now attending the protests after Nazir Ahmed, the former Baron Ahmed of Rotherham, was charged with historical sex offences against a boy and girl besides his expulsion from the House of Lords. Nazir Ahmed was the main supporter of the Sikh For Justice, the main force behind the Khalistani movement, in the UK.
Mr Vishwesh Negi, Minister, Political, Press & Information, at Indian High Commission, in a statement, said that they are co-ordinating with the police, Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office to take stock of the situation. The officials were surprised to see the arrival of nearly 4000 protesters near the mission premises flouting all the Covid-19 regulations.
“The protesters had gathered in large numbers, around 3500 to 4000, in front of the High Commission flouting social distancing norms during a pandemic,” said Mr Negi. “About 700 vehicles had participated in the rally. Protesters were seen to be arrived by vehicles. High Commission had been informed that as per normal practice. Permission had been sought from London Metropolitan Police for a drive past protest involving about 40 vehicles. We were also aware that the police had given specific warning against a gathering of more than 30 people.
“The developing situation was brought to the attention of the UK Foreign Office and Home Office,” he added. “London Metropolitan Police managed, controlled and eventually disposed the crowds. We could see that a few violent protesters were arrested.”
Mr Negi said anti-India activists are exploiting the opportunities in London.
“As expected, it soon became clear that the gathering was led by anti -India separatists, who had taken the opportunity of the farm protests in India to to pursue their own anti-India agenda. As many are aware, the protest against agri-reform bills in India is part of a democratic process. It is work in progress in our functioning democracy. Government of India is in talks with the protesters which are still ongoing. Needless to say, It is an internal issue of India.”
In recent days, the High Commission has comprehensively briefed the relevant interlocutors in the UK government and the Parliament on the fundamental features of the path breaking farming sector reforms initiated by the Govt. of India. The fact that currently the Govt of India has reached out to the farmers’ organisations in India to address any of their apprehensions and concerns about the relevant reform measures is part of the democratic decision making process and exemplifies the spirit of responsive governance in India.
Last week, 36 British MPs from various parties have written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, asking him to intervene in the issue. Coordinated by Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the letter seeks an urgent meeting with Raab. Signatories to the letter include MPs from Labour, Conservative and Scottish National Party, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Virendra Sharma, Seema Malhotra, Valerie Vaz, Nadia Whittome, Peter Bottomley, John McDonnell, Martin Docherty-Hughes and Alison Thewliss.
Also Read: Farmers Continue Agitation