London: A small group of protesters carrying pro-Khalistan flags and banners in support of Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh gathered at Parliament Square here on Saturday, as part of similar protests in Canada and the US.
Banners for the so-called “Protest against the discriminatory actions by Indian police forces against Bhai Amritpal Singh and other innocent Sikhs” had been circulating on social media, along with similar protests called in the cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Indianapolis and Fresno.
The protest in London comes days after a planned demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday when protesters hurled coloured flares and water bottles toward the mission.
They have since taken to social media to allege that the objects were hurled by the Indian mission instead, allegations which have been countered by India House.
It comes in the wake of violent disorder at the Indian mission last Sunday, when pro-Khalistan extremists smashed windows and also attempted to pull down the Tricolour from its flagpole at the mission.
India has registered a strong protest with the UK government and the issue was also raised in the House of Commons earlier this week.
“We strongly condemn the vandalism and violent acts that took place outside the Indian High Commission in London. It was a completely unacceptable action against the High Commission and its staff,” Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt told MPs.
“There is ongoing work with the Metropolitan Police to review the protection measures around the High Commission, and any changes will be made to ensure the safety and security of its staff so that they can go about their business, serving both this country and India,” she said.
It followed UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s statement to condemn the unacceptable acts of violence and assurance to conduct a security review at the Indian mission in London.
“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,” said Cleverly.
“We will always take the security of the High Commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this,” he said.
Meanwhile, ministers have been holding talks with Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami during the week to reiterate plans to review the security measures at India House.
“Positive meeting with Indian High Commissioner @vdoraiswami today. As the Foreign Secretary said, we will always take the security of the High Commission & all foreign missions in the UK extremely seriously. The UK-India relationship is thriving & we are looking ahead to deeper ties,” tweeted UK Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad after his meeting on Friday.
UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat met Doraiswami on Thursday, a discussion that the Indian High Commission said covered “wider security cooperation”.
India on Friday said it expects to see action against the perpetrators of vandalism at its missions abroad and hoped the host governments would prosecute those involved in these incidents instead of holding out assurances.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said India also expects the host governments to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
“I think we are not just interested in assurances, I think we would like to see action,” the External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in New Delhi.