Indian Minister Lauds Pro-India Groups After Clashes with Protesters in London
A group of protesters mobilized by Pakistan-born Lord Nazir Ahmed demanded Kashmir's freedom outside the Indian High Commission in London.
Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has praised the pro-India groups that protested against the Kashmiri separatist activists in London on Jan. 26.
“Salute to the Indian patriots in London,” Rijiju tweeted. “The miniscule fringe elements can’t dent the spirit of India. We are all one from Arunachal Pradesh to Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland to Rann of Kutch, Kanyakumari to Punjab.”
Another Indian politician, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who was in London to attend the Education World Forum earlier this week, dismissed the protesters as “fringe elements” keen to foment trouble.
Groups pro and anti-India clashed outside the Indian High Commission in London on India’s Republic Day. British politician Lord Nazir Ahmed had launched a protest against India’s “occupation” of Kashmir while pro-Indian groups protested against him.
The anti-India groups demanded freedom for Kashmir and Khalistan. Ahmed used five billboard vans to campaign around London, which the Indian High Commission raised objections against with the United Kingdom government. However, the billboard vans are privately owned and not under state control.
Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and raised in South Yorkshire, is a controversial figure in British politics. The member of the British House of Lords was suspended from the Labour Party in 2012 for his divisive comments. He later resigned from the party and is currently not affiliated with any party. He was also charged for dangerous driving and is believed to be sympathetic towards radical Islamists.
Before the ‘Black Day’ protests on Jan. 26, 2018, Ahmed had said, “It will be a peaceful demonstration by a small gathering because we cannot have very large numbers outside the High Commission,” according to News18. However, the protests turned violent when members from both groups gathered there.
The supporters of India had organized a ‘Chalo India House’ demonstration in London to “celebrate India’s Republic Day by opposing anti-India lobbyists.”
A protester at the event was quoted by the Times of India as saying, “I am here today to tell Lord Nazir that they are asking for independence for my state of J&K but I want freedom from Pakistan sponsored terrorism, ceasefire violations and their proxy war.”