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Glorifying Burhan Wani, terrorists not on, India tells UK

An event to commemorate Wani’s death in Birmingham last July evoked a note verbale to the Foreign Office from India, prompting the local city council to withdraw permission. However, the event was held later after the council allowed it to go ahead. 

world Updated: Apr 05, 2018 20:29 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Hizbul Mujahideen,Burhan Wani,Foreign Office
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in July 2016.(HT File)

India on Thursday reiterated its “serious objection” to any event in the UK that seeks to “glorify” Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, whose killing in July 2016 triggered a prolonged period of unrest in the Kashmir valley.

An event to commemorate Wani’s death in Birmingham last July evoked a note verbale, or semi-formal communication, to the Foreign Office from India, prompting the local city council to withdraw permission. However, the event was held later after the council allowed it to go ahead.

“We have no objection to peaceful events on political issues but take serious objection to any effort to glorify terrorists,” India’s deputy high commissioner Dinesh Patnaik said following reports that a simular event may be organised this year.

“Would any council give permission to glorify terrorists who commit acts in the United Kingdom, such as the person who committed the Westminster Bridge attack last year,” he said. Five people were killed in the March 22 attack near British Parliament.

Home secretary Amber Rudd has been urged by Birmingham councillor Peter Douglas Osborn (Conservative)to ban any event to protestWani's killingthis year. In a letter to Rudd, he said: “Intelligence suggests that another protest is being planned.”

Osborn, who is yet to receive a reply from Rudd, said on Thursday he was aware of such efforts locally. “We should not be honouring terrorists, particularly people who want to drive other religions out of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The councillor wrote to Rudd that last year’s event in Birmingham had “caused a lot of upset to our Indian community”, and recalled that he had promised to get any event this year banned. “Indian media are very sensitive to such extremists being lauded in this country,” he said in the letter.

In its 2017 note verbale, India had said that allowing an event to commemorate an individual considered a terrorist by New Delhi was not expected of the Theresa May government. Wani had been photographed with anAK-47 rifle, seeking the dismemberment of India, it was pointed out.

Concerns over anti-India forces functioning in Britain were raised when visiting minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju met security minister Ben Wallace here in January. Wallace assured him that London would not allow such activities.

As Brexit-bound Britain courts India for a free trade agreement, New Delhi has of late been quick to protest against events and issues in the UK seen as going against India’s interests.

In an unusually strongly worded speech at a book release event last year, Indian envoy YK Sinha said post-Brexit Britain’s eagerness to intensify trade with India would nothappen if India’s core concerns were ignored.

Sinha had said: “The way the UK permits anti-India activity on its soil, in Delhi people are quite perturbed about that. We are also a democratic society but we do not discuss issues that affect our friends and allies.

“Allowing anti-India elements to flourish here in the name of democracy will not do”, he said in the speech that caused ripples and raised eyebrows in diplomatic and political circles.

First Published: Apr 05, 2018 20:03 IST