Two held in London after Indian mission damaged in Kashmir protest

Published September 5, 2019
In this file photo, protesters chant slogans against Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi in London on Tuesday. — Photo by Atika Rehman
In this file photo, protesters chant slogans against Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi in London on Tuesday. — Photo by Atika Rehman

LONDON: Two people were arrested in connection with a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London’s Aldwych area on Tuesday.

The rally, billed as the “Kashmir freedom march”, was staged to show solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir at the 30-day mark since Article 370 was revoked in the valley and a curfew was imposed.

Read: Thousands march to Indian High Commission in London as occupied Kashmir lockdown enters 30th day

A spokesperson for the mayor of London told Dawn: “The Mayor supports the right to peaceful and lawful protest. He condemns the violence and unlawful activity by a small minority which has taken place outside the Indian High Commission in London.”

The mayor’s statement comes a day after the massive anti-Modi march was held from Parliament Square to Aldwych, where Pakistani and Kashmiri protesters shouted slogans condemning Indian atrocities in held Kashmir and demanding an end to the occupation of the valley.

The protest was organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned reports of damage to the premises of the Indian HC during the demonstration.

In response to a tweet by the Indian mission that the high commission had been damaged during what it described as a ‘violent’ protest, the mayor tweeted: “I utterly condemn this unacceptable behaviour and have raised this issue with the Metropolitan Police to take action.”

The Indian HC also shared a photo of a windowpane partially broken and smeared with what appears to look like eggs.

Tuesday’s protest came two weeks after a Kashmir freedom protest was held outside the Indian HC on Aug 15.

A clash between Indian and Pakistani protesters resulted in four arrests, the Met Police had then said.

The following week, Indian newspapers widely reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a telephonic conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reportedly “regretted the incidents of violence outside the Indian High Commission in London” on India’s independence day.

A statement said Mr Modi complained to Mr Johnson about “violence against members of the Indian diaspora”.

The statement also said Mr Johnson regretted the incident and said that steps would be taken to ensure safety and security of the High Commission, its personnel and visitors.

The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front’s UK president Tahseen Gilani said the protest was largely “peaceful and successful”, but that the security volunteers did stop political figures from Azad Jammu and Kashmir making speeches and pushed back when they resisted.

His comment was referring to a video of a gentleman being roughed up during the protest that was later circulated on social media.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2019

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