London: Two groups of protesters clashed outside Indian High Commission as Kashmiris and Sikhs jointly protested against Indian government actions while a group organised by the Indian officials attacked the protesters.
Sikhs and Kashmiris who traditionally demonstrate on India’s Republic Day outside the Indian High Commission in London to declare their desire for freedom from Indian occupation but for the first time Indian officials organised counter protest which turned into violence as pro-Indian protesters attacked Sikhs and Kashmiris. Scotland Yard officials tried to separate the protesters and then called more force to take away pro-India protestors who were issuing threats and threw a few water bottles at the protesters.
Carrying placards accusing the Sikhs and Kashmiris of being terrorists, shouting “Modi, Modi” and howling abuse at their opponents the Indian protesters eventually beat a retreat once it was clear that they were getting a more than robust response from a spirited gathering of Sikh and Kashmiri self determination supporters.
India has been incensed at its diplomats being recently banned from speaking at many Sikh Gurdwaras in the UK, Canada and the USA. High Commission officers were also visibly stung seeing vans parked outside the London High Commission proclaiming “Khalistan Zindabad”, “Free Kashmir” and calling for freedom in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Indian lobby complaints last week led to Transport for London issuing a circular to stop advertisement agencies from displaying these messages on public transport.
Lord Nazir Ahmed led the protestors and condemned the ‘extremist Hindutva’ elements that had sought to prevent peaceful democratic protest. Speaker after speaker said their communities would never be intimidated by such cowardly tactics.
Amrik Singh Sahota, OBE, President of the Council of Khalistan said the international community – including the Commonwealth – should hold Modi to account for his own personal and his country’s diabolic record on human rights. As a country that formally rejects the right of self determination (enshrined in international law as Article 1 of the 1966 Covenants on Human Rights), he said the role of responsible international bodies was to punish, not, reward India.
The conflicts arising from that illegal position had led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold misery. Dr Mukul Hazarika of Assam Watch (UK) said India must “return the sovereign status of the shackled deserving nations viz the Kashmiris, Khalistanis and the nationalities of Western South East Asia”. Lord Qurban Hussain, also participating in the protest, spoke of the need for the UN to intervene and bring peace to what is perhaps the most dangerous conflict zone in the world today.