Mar 20, 2023
India Blasts UK as National Flag Pulled Down at London Embassy
(Bloomberg) -- India lodged a formal protest with the British High Commission in New Delhi after a Sikh separatist sympathizer pulled down the national flag outside its embassy in London on Sunday.
Local media in India tweeted video footage that showed the man pulling down the Indian tricolor. He then briefly waved the orange flag of the so-called Khalistan movement, which fought for a creation of an independent state for followers of the Sikh faith in Punjab in the 1980s and early 1990s.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs summoned the British deputy high commissioner late Sunday and demanded an explanation for the complete absence of “security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises.”
The British High Commissioner to New Delhi, Alex Ellis, later condemned the action at the Indian embassy.
The London event follows a tense weekend in Punjab as local police tried to capture a Sikh separatist leader, Amritpal Singh.
The state-wide search for Singh continued on Monday with Punjab’s security personnel patrolling some districts, said Swapan Sharma, a deputy inspector general in the police force. Mobile Internet and messaging services have remained suspended to prevent incitement to violence, he said.
The 30-year-old religious preacher has emerged in recent months as a popular figure trying to revive the now-banned Khalistan movement. Last month his supporters stormed into a police station in the region to free a jailed supporter. Singh has so far evaded arrest.
While the separatist movement was largely quelled by the mid-1990s, it continues to find some support within India and among the Sikh diaspora, especially in the UK, Australia and Canada.
--With assistance from Bibhudatta Pradhan.
(Updates with police search for Singh in sixth paragraph.)
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