London: Pro-Khalistan supporters have gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London, the capital of the United Kingdom to stage protests. The police have cordoned off the protesters to the opposite side of the road in front of the High Commission.
Protesters are seen holding placards featuring the photo of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. They are urging the British government to follow Canada’s example and take steps to prevent India’s interference in Sikh affairs.
According to the report, Protesters stated, “The Canadian government’s discussion of India in its Parliament clearly demonstrates Indian government interference there. The Indian government is attempting to tarnish our Sikh community.”
It was said that, “For the past forty years, there has been significant interference by the Indian government within the country and abroad, which should not have occurred.”
A video was posted on the Instagram handle of ‘Sikh Youth UK’, in which a man, allegedly a Khalistani supporter, was seen blocking Doraiswami from entering the Glasgow Gurdwara in Scotland and said, “…They are hurting Sikhs in Canada and other places, every Sikh should protest against any Indian Ambassador as we did here in Glasgow.”
#WATCH | Khalistan supporters have gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London, UK staging a protest. Heavy presence of British security forces at the High Commission. The protesters have been restricted to the opposite side of the High Commission. pic.twitter.com/RfIGXlneHi— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2023
“On September 29, 2023, three persons— all from areas outside Scotland—deliberately disrupted a planned interaction organized by the Gurudwara Committee for the community, the High Commissioner and the Consul General of India. This interaction was to discuss community and consular issues,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement.
Calling for Action
During the protest, a demand was made for the British government to “act in line with Canada regarding the interference happening here.”
Tensions and Diplomacy
Just two days ago, following strained diplomatic relations between India and Canada, Indian High Commissioner to Britain Vikram Doraiswami was barred from entering a Gurudwara in Scotland. The Indian High Commission subsequently filed a complaint with the British Government.
Previously, there were attempts to remove the tricolor flag from the Indian High Commission in Central London. India formally complained about the need for enhanced security measures at the location.
Campaign for Jagtar Singh Johal
The protest also coincides with an ongoing campaign advocating for the release of Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh blogger from Scotland, who has been incarcerated in India for the past five years. He faces allegations of conspiring against right-wing Hindu leaders and plotting murders.
Sikh Presence in the UK
Similar to Canada, the United Kingdom has a substantial Sikh community, with approximately five lakh members, as reported by the news agency AFP.
Khalistan row between India and Canada
Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, is the centre of a diplomatic standoff between India and Canada that erupted following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “baseless” allegations against India. While speaking at the Canadian Parliament, Trudeau alleged New Delhi’s agents behind the killing of Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar– a claim that India rejected multiple times and in fact on the global stage.
Notably, this came at a time when Canada was defending anti-India movements in the country under the guise of “free speech” in the country.
India angrily rejected the Canadian PM’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to a similar move by Ottawa. India also temporarily suspended visa services for Canadian nationals in view of “security threats” and called for a reduction of Canadian diplomats in New Delhi.