The Indian community held a large gathering in front of the Indian High Commission in London against the “disrespectful act” of Khalistan supporters towards the Indian flag and demanded that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and the British government act against the perpetrators at the earliest.
The desecration of the Indian Flag this past Sunday has led to an unprecedented outpouring of support from the diverse Indian community settled here in Britain. Expats from all across the UK travelled to London to express their solidarity with the Indian Flag and with the Unity of India. The gathering resoundingly debunked the idea of Khalistan, saying there are no takers for it.
Indian flags could be seen waved about as around 200 people of Indian origin chanted slogans such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and danced to popular Indian tunes ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’ at “We Stand By High Commission of India” demonstration.
The colours of the Tiranga and “I love my India” tunes formed the backdrop as men, women and children joined in a spirit of festivity, as bemused Metropolitan Police officers looked on and tried to curtail some of the over-enthusiastic crowd from spilling over into the busy traffic. “This is a crowd gathered in support of India, chanting patriotic slogans and songs and the public is in a festive mood because they have come out in support of the High Commission of India,” said Kuldeep Shekhawat, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), among the diaspora groups represented.
“It’s very unfortunate that a few days ago Khalistanis under the guise of a peaceful protest came here and tried to desecrate the flag,” said Rashmi Samant, an Indian student activist at the demonstration.
“We have since come out with a bigger flag showing the bharatiya spirit, that we won’t take insults lying down and we will fight back. One person has been arrested but we need more arrests and more concrete actions, such as permanent security presence at our High Commission to prevent such incidents from happening,” she said.
Earlier, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami hosted a diaspora briefing at India House on Monday evening and addressed the concerns of the community leaders following the attack that resulted in broken windows.
An attempted pull down by the extremists of the Indian tricolour that flies at the Indian High Commission was intercepted by an official and has been followed up by an additional larger Tiranga on the main facade.
“Appreciated their solidarity following the attack on the High Commission on Sunday,” the Indian High Commission in London tweeted following the diaspora briefing.
The Metropolitan Police said its “enquiries continue” and one person arrested on suspicion of violent disorder has since been bailed to appear in court in mid-June.
Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK, one of the organisations behind Tuesday’s solidarity meet, said the Indian diaspora is deeply shocked by the “disgraceful and abominable act” of desecration of the Indian flag by extremist forces.
“We are equally shocked to see the failure of the UK government to take preventive measures to prohibit such shameful incidents that endanger the Indian diplomatic officials,” said FISI UK.
The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK was among several groups to voice their condemnation of the vandalism.
“We call for swift and firm action being taken to bring the perpetrators of this hooliganism to justice. Measures should be urgently put in place to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” it said.
One protestor said, “We demand action, not statements from Sadiq Khan and from the British government.”
In a video, protesters were seen dancing to tunes of “Jai Ho” from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Significantly, during this peaceful protest, British security officials were also seen shaking a leg witn members of the Indian diaspora to the groovy, patriotic tune.
Another protester said, “It was my duty to come out in support of India and the Indian government after what happened on Sunday. I think it is very important that we express our disappointment and anger at the insult of the Indian flag. We all are standing united under our Tricolour.”