More than 30 people stormed the Sri Lankan High Commission, bang opposite the fortified Chinese Embassy, and vandalised it on Friday afternoon, police said.
The people, reportedly owing allegiance to a Tamil Nadu-based outfit named “Puthiya Tamizhagam”, were protesting Lankan Navy allegedly firing on Indian fishermen.
All the protestors managed to escape even though the heavily guarded Chinese Embassy is just across the road.
The 27 Kautilya Marg premises of the Sri Lankan High Commission was guarded by only one personnel of the Meghalaya Police at that time.
“Around 3 pm, more than 30 men dressed in white kurtas and dhotis walked towards the main gate, forced open the door and barged inside damaging flower pots and breaking windowpanes,” said Mohammad Salahuddin, the Meghalaya Police constable posted at the commission.
“They were carrying banners in their pockets and started shouting slogans in Tamil,” he said.
The protestors had parked their vehicles a few metres away.
S. Gunaratne, high commission first secretary, said: “The unfortunate thing is the police failed to prevent the perpetrators from climbing over the perimeter.”
The police said it all happened within a couple of minutes and security personnel posted at the high commission did not sense trouble as the protestors were unarmed.
“They presumed the protestors were devotees. Things became clear when they barged in the premises,” said Shankar Dash, additional deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi). “We have registered a case of rioting and trespassing and would arrest the accused soon.”
The police said they would examine CCTV camera footage from the Chinese Embassy and the high commission.
“We deeply regret this unfortunate incident, which has involved an act of violence against a diplomatic Mission. The law enforcement agencies have swung into action,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “Security around the high commission premises has been strengthened,” the ministry said.