Lodging a strong protest against the vandalisation of the Indian flag outside the Indian High Commission in London by Khalistani protesters, and “indifference” of the British government, the Centre summoned the British Deputy High Commissioner Christina Scott to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday night. Ms. Scott was asked for an explanation and for a full enquiry, the MEA statement said, adding that the British government’s attitude to the security of Indian diplomats was “unacceptable”.
The protesters, who were demonstrating against a crackdown by security forces in Punjab on the Waaris Punjab De (WPD) group, shouted Khalistani slogans, and attempted to enter the High Commission, while one protester climbed up to the Indian High Commission balcony overlooking the street and brought down the national Tricolour.
“An explanation was demanded for the complete absence of the British security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises. She was reminded in this regard of the basic obligations of the U.K. Government under the Vienna Convention,” said an MEA statement issued late at night.
“India finds unacceptable the indifference of the U.K. Government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the U.K.,” the statement added. This is the worst such incident since 2019, when crowds of Kashmiri and Khalistani separatist groups surrounded the embassy and pelted eggs and other objects at the mission.
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“I condemn the disgraceful acts against the people and premises of the Indian High Commission in London – totally unacceptable,” British High Commissioner Alex Ellis, who was travelling on Sunday, tweeted.
In its statement, the MEA said that India expects the U.K. government to take immediate steps to “identify, arrest and prosecute” all those involved in the incident on Sunday and place stringent security measures to prevent such protests from recurring.
A video shared by a High Commission official shows a member of the High Commission staff securing the Tricolour and handing it to someone inside the building.
Completely unacceptable, says U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development office
Asked for a reaction, the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) office in London pointed to Mr. Ellis’s tweet as well as that of FCDO Minister of State Tariq Ahmad.
“Am appalled by today’s attack on the Indian High Commission in London. This is a completely unacceptable action against the integrity of the Mission and its staff. The UK Government will always take the security of the Indian High Commission seriously,” Mr. Ahmad said.