The Foreign Office summoned Britain’s top diplomat to New Delhi late in the evening as the Indian flag was removed from the Indian High Commission in London by a section of Sikhs protesting the police crackdown on the separatist Khalistan Amritpal Singh. In a scathing statement, the ministry demanded an explanation for the ‘lack of security’ at the High Commission’s premises and said the UK government’s ‘indifference’ towards Indian diplomats and staff was ‘unacceptable’.
A section of Sikhs started protesting against the crackdown since the evening. Cellphone videos posted on social media showed protesters scaling the building and removing the Indian flag. In Brisbane, Australia, pro-Khalistan groups held what they called a referendum on Khalistan.
“An explanation was demanded for the complete absence of British security which allowed these elements to enter the premises of the High Commission. He was reminded in this respect of the fundamental obligations of the British Government under the Vienna Convention,” the foreign ministry said in its statement. statement.
The ministry also said it found “unacceptable” the British government’s indifference to the security of Indian premises and diplomatic personnel.
“The UK government is expected to take immediate action to identify, arrest and prosecute each of those involved in today’s incident, and put in place strict measures to prevent a repeat of such incidents.” , the statement said.
The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, meanwhile tweeted:
I condemn the shameful acts committed today against the people and premises of the @HCI_London – totally unacceptable.
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWellis) March 19, 2023
Over the weekend, nearly 80 supporters of Amritpal Singh were arrested. Amritpal Singh is on the run. The crackdown began after they stormed into a police station with swords and guns to secure the release of one of them. Six police officers were injured in the clash.
Since then, 78 supporters of Amritpal Singh have been arrested, many of them after a daring car chase. His close associate Daljeet Singh Kalsi, who manages his finances, was arrested this morning in Gurgaon, Haryana.
Punjab Police tweeted details of the crackdown, saying 34 arrests had been made today and the situation in the state was peaceful.
Day 2 on Mega Crackdown on #AmritpalSingh backed Waris Punjab De wanted on criminal charges, made preemptive arrests of people attempting to disturb law and order in #Punjab (1/2) pic.twitter.com/CG37H0UE1K
— Punjab Police India (@PunjabPoliceInd) March 19, 2023
“Punjab Police are acting within the law. #AmritpalSingh is still at large and has not been arrested yet. Do not believe rumors and fake news. Urge all citizens to keep the peace and harmony and not to panic,” read another tweet.
Police sources in Punjab said that Amritpal Singh had close ties with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and terrorist groups based in foreign countries.