India lodges formal complaint with British High Commission after London embassy protest
India has lodged a formal protest with the British High Commission in New Delhi after a man pulled down a flag at its embassy in London.
Officers arrested a man on suspicion of violent disorder after windows were smashed during a protest outside the building in Aldwych, Westminster, on Sunday.
Two security guards sustained minor injuries as police rushed to the building to quell the unrest.
Supporters of #Khalistan & Waris Punjab De' chief #AmritpalSingh pull down the indian flag at the indian high commission #London. Internet services have been suspended in Indian Punjab for the last 3 days,entire Indian state machinery is conducting raids to arrest Amrit Pal Singh pic.twitter.com/CMBkY7vfwc
— Ghulam Abbas Shah (@ghulamabbasshah) March 20, 2023
Social media footage showed a man lower the Indian flag from the first-floor balcony, with a crowd of people below appearing to encourage him while waving yellow “Khalistan” banners.
The protesters are believed to be supporters of a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a new homeland or breakaway state.
India summoned the British deputy high commisioner on Sunday evening and demanded an explanation for the “complete absence of security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises”.
I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London - totally unacceptable.
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWEllis) March 19, 2023
Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to New Delhi, condemned the events that unfolded.
He wrote on Twitter: “I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London - totally unacceptable.”
The Met Police has launched an investigation into the incident.
A spokesperson said: “Windows were broken at the High Commission building.
“Two members of security staff sustained injuries. These are believed to be minor; they did not require hospital treatment.
“Officers attended the location. The majority of those present had dispersed prior to the arrival of police.
“An investigation was launched, and one male was arrested nearby a short time later on suspicion of violent disorder. Inquiries continue.”
The incident was denounced on Twitter by London mayor Sadiq Khan, Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, and the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis.
Mr Khan said: “I condemn the violent disorder and vandalism that took place at the Indian High Commission today.
“There is no place in our city for this kind of behaviour.
“An investigation has been launched by the Met into today’s events.”
Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad wrote: “Am appalled by today’s attack on the Indian High Commission in London.
“This is a completely unacceptable action against the integrity of the Mission and its staff.
“The UK Government will always take the security of the Indian High Commission seriously.”
Mr Ellis said: “I condemn the disgraceful acts today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London – totally unacceptable.”