The Scotland Yard has put in place a ‘policing plan’ to deal with protests planned by several groups during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Britain — his first since 2003, which had also witnessed protests.
There is some concern in official circles about the security aspect of Modi’s visit, after a Sikh demonstration at the Indian high commission last week led to some violence and traffic jams in central London for some hours.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard told HT on Sunday, “An appropriate policing plan is in place. We are in dialogue with various protest groups to facilitate their requests.”
Most of the protests are scheduled for November 12, the first day of the three-day visit. Awaaz UK, a collective of several campaign groups that was also in the forefront during Modi’s 2003 visit, has announced a ‘day of protest’.
After protesting outside 10, Downing Street, when Modi is due to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, the Awaaz UK protest is to move to nearby parliament square, where Modi is due to pay respects at the Gandhi statue and later address MPs in parliament.
Groups protesting on the day include Sikh organisations. The visit is seen as an opportunity to help “break down the wall between the Indian state and many Sikhs outside India”, as the Sikh Human Rights Group said.
It has sent five proposals to New Delhi, including abolishing ‘blacklists’ of Sikhs living abroad who cannot travel to India, release of prisoners held for political reasons, and a dialogue between the Indian government and Sikhs based abroad.