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India Withdraws Security Outside UK High Commission in New Delhi Over Violent Protests



On Wednesday,  New Delhi reduced security outside the British high commission and the high commissioner's residence, removing the usual yellow metal barriers that provide an extra layer of protection in retaliation for a violent protest by pro-Khalistan elements outside the Indian mission in London over the weekend.


“I do believe it is retaliation because the Narendra Modi government believes in muscular diplomacy,” said Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, a columnist for the Tribune newspaper in India.


The development followed a security assessment at the highest levels of the government after a violent protest outside the Indian high commission in London on Sunday when pro-Khalistan activists clambered onto a balcony and pulled down the national flag from a pole at the front of the building.

Earlier this week, India summoned the most senior British diplomat in New Delhi to protest the actions taken by "separatist and extremist elements" against the country's mission in London. According to reports, protesters with "Khalistan" banners detached the Indian flag from the first-floor balcony of the diplomatic mission's building earlier to protest the recent police action in Punjab. 


India did not take the developments in London well, as they felt the police in London had been remiss in allowing the Sikh protesters to get so close to the Indian high commission in Aldwych. The British deputy high commissioner Christina Scott was called to the external affairs ministry late Sunday night to register a strong protest over the situation.


“India finds the indifference of the UK government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK unacceptable,” India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

The state action sparked protests in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. India lodged a protest with the US on Monday over vandalism at its consulate in San Francisco during a similar protest where 200 Khalistani sympathizers gathered outside the consulate and planted two Khalistan flags at the consulate. When officials removed the flags, activists broke through the barricades and used flagpoles to attack the consulate, smashing windows and hitting the doors.


The Punjab Police launched a state-wide manhunt against Amritpal Singh and his followers, arresting nearly one hundred people on the first day and suspending mobile internet and text messaging services across the state. Singh remains on the run five days after the crackdown was launched. Though he has been sighted on CCTV cameras several times in different vehicles and disguises, he remains elusive.


Edited by: AshleynWagner

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