UK still holding details on action against March 19 London HC protesters

Apr 07, 2023 08:29 AM IST

Indian High Commission in London is situated at the commercial part without any protection from mobs. London Police posted two personnel after March 19 protest.

Twenty days after the Indian national flag at Indian High Commission in London was pulled down by Sikh extremists, the UK government is still to share details of those arrested for trespass citing privacy laws and still to install bollards outside the embassy to prevent radicals driving any vehicle into the diplomatic premises.

A 50-foot flag was hung outside the Indian High Commission in London after the March 19 violence by Sikh extremists.
A 50-foot flag was hung outside the Indian High Commission in London after the March 19 violence by Sikh extremists.

Unlike India where the British High Commission is a fortress protected by the Delhi Police, the High Commission is bang on Aldwych Road in the commercial part of London without any barricades or protection from any unruly mobs. Delhi Police Special Cell has registered a case against the Sikh extremists for the March 19, 2023 violence.

It is understood that after India read the riot act to the British over the breach of Indian premises, the London Metropolitan Police have posted two personnel round the clock outside the High Commission with all demonstrations post March 19 incident being held across the road. The incident and the expected strong British response were raised by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his visiting UK counterpart Tim Barrows on March 30.

It is understood that while the Rishi Sunak government has promised to deal with the Sikh radical issue firmly, the British establishment particularly intelligence suffers from rancor over rising India and uses extremists and state media as leverage over Modi government. Despite evidence of extremists raising funds in the name of human rights violations in Punjab in some gurudwaras in the UK given to British Intelligence chiefs time and again, the Sikh radicals have had a free run in the UK and have been able to acquire huge properties. The so-called human rights violation in Punjab is a standard excuse for Sikh radicals to seek political asylum in the UK.

The March 19 pulling down of the Indian flag incident has been taken most seriously by the Modi government and the UK government has been warned that bilateral relations will take a toll if such an incident was repeated again. While the Delhi Police under directions of the Home Ministry removed barricades outside the British High Commission, the security of the British High Commissioner will be in jeopardy if there is any more attack on the Indian High Commission in London.

Fact is that the officer in charge of security of Indian High Commission in London had personally briefed his MI-5 counterpart about the March 19 protest much in advance and in writing. Despite all relevant security protocols being followed, the security of the High Commission was compromised as there was no one from the British establishment to prevent the breach of Indian premises. All this happened after stones were pelted by Pakistan sponsored radicals and extremists on the Indian High Commission on August 16, 2019, after the withdrawal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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