UK Government Apologizes Over Indian Flag Destruction Incident at Parliament Square
The demonstrators included members of Sikh Federation UK and Minorities Against Modi group among nearly 500 protesters who were present at the parliament Square.
The UK government apologized to India on April 19 over Indian flag being pulled down from an official flag post, torn, stomped on and burnt on April 18 at Parliament Square, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.
The tricolor was torn down and burnt by pro-PoK and Khalistani activists in Central London in the presence of the London Metropolitan Police, reported ANI. After a complaint by the Indian authorities regarding the incident to the Foreign Office and Scotland Yard, a replacement flag was put up.
“While people have the right to hold peaceful protests, we are disappointed with the action taken by a small minority in Parliament Square and contacted High Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as soon as we were made aware. The visit to the United Kingdom by Prime Minister Modi has strengthened our relationship with India and we look forward to working even more closely together on a number of important areas,” the UK Foreign Office said, as per Daily News and Analysis.
The UK government has apologized for the act, replaced the flag and is taking action against the perpetrators, said a source from the Indian government. An Indian journalist was also roughed up by the protesters and the police had to step in to rescue her at Parliament Square.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police in United Kingdom said that the police are investigating the case. “Police are investigating after an Indian flag in Parliament Square was pulled down at 1500 (UK time) on Wednesday, 18 April. The flag has been replaced. There have been no arrests. Inquiries continue,” the statement specified, PTI report said.
“We’re deeply anguished with the incident involving our national flag. The matter was taken up strongly with the United Kingdom side. They have regretted the incident. The flag was immediately replaced. We expect legal action against the people who were involved in this,” said MEA’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.
The demonstrators from Sikh Federation UK and “Minorities Against Modi” group, led by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed, were among nearly 500 protesters who were present at the parliament Square. The group also included some Kashmiri separatist groups, according to DNA.
Earlier, PM Modi was greeted by protests as he arrived for talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on April 18 in London with vans bearing digital posters that said “#ModiNotWelcome” over his lack of explicit censure over recent incidents of rape in India.