Nudged by India, UK moves to restrict protest march

The marchers are protesting against India decision regarding Jammu and Kashmir
Last Updated 25 October 2019, 20:12 IST

Nudged by New Delhi, the British Government has finally moved to ensure that the High Commission of India in London is not subjected to vandalism again, as some organizations planned yet another “march” in United Kingdom's capital during the Deepavali to protest the end of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The London Police conveyed to the organizers that the “march” being planned on Sunday would not be allowed to start or end anywhere near the “India House” at Aldwych in UK capital.

The “India House” is the home to the High Commission of India in London and protests around it by some organizations on August 15 and September 13 had turned violent. The agitators – mostly Pakistanis living in the United Kingdom – had resorted to vandalism, while protesting against August 5 decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government in New Delhi to end the special status of J&K and to reorganize the state into two Union Territories.

The “march” is being jointly organized by Muslim Action Forum, World Muslim Federation, Pakistan Patriotic Front, Overseas Pakistan Welfare Council and Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party. The unit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's party in so called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (India's territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in J&K) is also involved with the initiative to start the “march” of about 10000 people near the residence of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street in London in the morning and to end it near “India House” in Aldwych in the evening.

The London Police now conveyed to the six organizations that they would be allowed to start the “march” from Parliament Street only in the afternoon. They would have to end the march at Trafalgar Square, not near “India House” in Aldwych.

The organizers were warned that any violation of the instruction of London Police would lead to arrest and prosecution of offenders.

The London Police swung into action after New Delhi issued a Note Verbale asking British Government to ensure that the agitators do not resort to vandalism again in front of its High Commission in the capital of the UK.

A new irritant has emerged in India-UK relations after large mobs of agitators – mostly Pakistanis living in United Kingdom – resorted to vandalism and violent protests in front of the High Commission of India in London on August 15 (Independence Day of India) and September 3 last.

They protested against New Delhi's recent decisions on J&K. Some Sikhs living in the UK and supporting the demand to carve out a separate Khalistan out of Punjab state of India also joined the protest on both the days.

Some of the protesters turned violent and broke a windowpane of the “India House” on September 3. They hurled eggs, tomatoes, frozen water bottles and even pieces of stone on the building. Indian community living in and around London joined India's envoy to UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, and other diplomats and officials of the High Commission of India later to clean up the mess the protesters had left around the building.

Pakistanis held similar protests and resorted to vandalism in front of the High Commission of India in London on August 15 too.

(Published 25 October 2019, 20:12 IST)

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