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Anti-India protestors mislead UK authorities, flout COVID-19 rules at India High Commission protest

News Agencies | Updated on: 7 December 2020, 8:56 IST

Scores of protestors flagrantly flouted social distancing rules as they gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London on Sunday in apparent solidarity with farmers protesting new farming laws enacted in India.

Just days after the British government lifted a national COVID-19 lockdown - which had significantly brought down infection rates, the protesters descended on the heart of Central London, causing massive gridlock and disruption.

According to sources at the Indian High Commission in London, the organizers of the protest had misled the authorities, including the Metropolitan Police in London, that no more than 40 vehicles would participate in a "drive past".

Police had also told the organizers that no more than 30 people would attend, in line with the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in London.

However, ANI witnessed thousands of protestors had participated in the demonstration along with hundreds of vehicles.

In one tweet, the Sikh Federation UK, an umbrella organization claiming to represent Sikhs in the UK but is widely seen to be a front and a voice for Khalistan supporters in the UK - described the protest as a "siege" of the Indian High Commission.

Numerous Khalistani flags were seen being waved at the protest while demonstrators shouted anti-India slogans, suggesting a coordinated global effort to discredit the Indian government and further the Khalistan agenda.

Among the demonstrators at the High Commission on Sunday was Paramjeet Singh Pamma, a man wanted in India for his connections to banned terror groups such as Sikhs for Justice (SJF), believed to be funded by the Pakistani intelligence service ISI.

In 2018, Pamma was arrested in Portugal under a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol. However, Portuguese authorities refused to extradite Pamma to India and he was subsequently released.

The initially peaceful protest by farmers in Delhi, some reports suggest, has been "hijacked" by the Khalistan movement.

A statement from the Indian High Commission stated: "As expected, it soon became clear that the gathering was led by anti-India separatists who had taken the opportunity of the farm protests in India to ostensibly back the farmers in India but use the opportunity to pursue their own anti-India agenda."

"As many are aware, the protest against agricultural reform bills in India is part of a democratic process. It is a work in progress in our functioning democracy. The Government of India is in talks with the protesters which are still ongoing."

The statement added: "The developing situation was brought to the attention of the UK Foreign Office and Home Office. London Metropolitan Police managed, controlled and eventually disposed of the crowds. We could see that a few violent were arrested."

The Narendra Modi-led government is currently pursuing talks with farmer's leaders in India over the new laws, enacted in September.


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First published: 7 December 2020, 8:56 IST