NIA seeks info on those involved in violent protests at Indian Mission in London
13 June, 2023 | Disha Singh
On March 19, pro-Khalistani demonstrators attempted to vandalize the Indian High Commission in London and pulled down the national flag while protesting outside the High Commission complex.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has expanded its investigation into the violent protests at the Indian Mission premises in London. On Monday, the NIA released five videos and called upon the public to help identify individuals involved in the March protests. The agency uploaded the nearly two-hour-long CCTV footage on its website and shared the link on its official Twitter handle, encouraging people to provide any information about the individuals seen in the videos.
The NIA, in a statement, emphasized that the CCTV footage of the attack on the High Commission of India in London by anti-national elements on March 19 has been made available. “All the members of public are requested to provide any information regarding the persons seen in the footage to the NIA in public interest”. They requested the public to submit information in the interest of public safety, assuring that the information would be kept confidential.
To gather details about the case, a team from the NIA visited London and held discussions with officials from Scotland Yard, according to informed sources. The NIA took over the investigation from the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, as the case involved unlawful activities carried out by Indian nationals abroad, falling under the purview of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
During the protests on March 19, pro-Khalistani demonstrators attempted to vandalize the Indian High Commission in London and pulled down the national flag while protesting outside the High Commission complex. This incident occurred a day after the Punjab police launched a crackdown against radical preacher Amritpal Singh in Punjab.
The Counter-Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the case to the NIA after a meeting between Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and representatives of the British government in April. In the London incident, a group of protesters waving separatist Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans grabbed the tricolor flying atop the Indian High Commission, leading to an arrest.
Mission officials reported that the “attempted but failed” attack was thwarted, and the tricolor flag is now flying with even greater pride. The Metropolitan Police stated that two security staff members sustained minor injuries that did not require hospital treatment.
India had summoned the British Deputy High Commissioner based in New Delhi, demanding an explanation for the complete lack of security. The Ministry of External Affairs expressed strong discontent with the UK government’s indifference towards the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel.
Union Home Secretary Bhalla raised the issue with a UK delegation led by Sir Matthew Rycroft, the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office. He specifically conveyed New Delhi’s concerns about the misuse of the UK’s asylum status by pro-Khalistani elements to support terrorist activities and requested enhanced cooperation, increased monitoring of extremists, and proactive measures.
India’s concerns about the security breach at the Indian High Commission were also highlighted during that meeting.