The Indian High Commission in London suffered another attack on Tuesday after protests over the abrogation of Article 370. A 10,000 strong mob of British Pakistanis marched in London in the ‘Kashmir Freedom March’. The building has suffered damages as several windows and window panes have been smashed by the attackers.
Another violent protest outside the Indian High Commission in London today, 3 September 2019. Damage caused to the premises. @foreignoffice @UKinIndia @MEAIndia @DominicRaab @DrSJaishankar @PMOIndia @tariqahmadbt pic.twitter.com/2sv0Qt1xy8
— India in the UK (@HCI_London) September 3, 2019
The protesters carried Khalistani flags as well. They chanted slogans such as ‘Azadi’, ‘Time for UN to act on Kashmir’, ‘Stop War Crimes in Kashmir’ and ‘Stop Shelling in Kashmir’. This was the second such attack on the Indian High Commission in London after the attack on Indians celebrating Independence Day on the 15th of August.
The violent crowd reportedly hurled shoes, eggs, tomatoes, stones and smoke bombs at the embassy building. Before the march started, a PoK flag was allegedly put in the hands of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Parliament Square.
The mob also included some MPs from the Labour Party. “You can try and silence a Parliament but you cannot try and silence a people. We will continue to protest on the streets of our cities and at the UN until we have delivered justice to the people of Kashmir”, said British Labour MP Liam Byrne, who was heading the march.
Byrne is campaigning to “seek restoration of Kashmir’s special status, to ensure demilitarisation, restoration of communication and to immediately allow full access to human rights observers” in Kashmir. As we have noted before, Byrne is the elected representative of a constituency that has a significant Muslim population of Pakistani heritage.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the incident and urged the Police to take action on the matter. Only two people have been arrested so far.
I utterly condemn this unacceptable behaviour and have raised this incident with @metpoliceuk to take action.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) September 3, 2019
Indian-origin Tory MP Shailesh Vara raised the matter of the attack on the Indian High Commission on Independence Day in the UK House of Commons on Tuesday. He made it clear that the Indian diaspora was attacked by “another community”, hinting clearly at the violent mob of Pakistani origin.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in response, “Any violence is deplorable. It shouldn’t be conducted in this country, or anywhere else for that matter, at any individual communities. What we now need to do is try and reduce those tensions but also, on a positive side, build up confidence-building measures to allow proper dialogue between the communities in Kashmir and also between India and Pakistan.”