Days after the Indian High Commission in London was targeted by a group of separatist extremists who attempted to pull down the Indian national flag, the same arena was flooded with hundreds of Tricolours as Indian diaspora groups gathered in a show of solidarity.
The “We Stand by High Commission of India” demonstration attracted a large gathering of community leaders, students and professionals of Indian origin for a festive celebration to the beats of ‘I Love My India’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Jai Ho’.
Iqra Khan, a 13-year-old dancer-choreographer who performed to some of the patriotic numbers, said: “India is made up of so many states and we are all here today as a community. I love my India because I have the right to speak against all evil.
“We have diversity of culture and people. All the reasons why we must all love India.”
Slogans such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “India, India” reverberated as passers-by also joined in the celebratory spirit and the warm samosas being handed out.
Kuldeep Shekhawat, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), among the diaspora groups represented, said: “We are gathered here against what was done to the High Commission building two days ago by some anti-India Khalistani elements.
“This is the response of the Indian community which has gathered in great numbers and delivered a message to these separatists that we are here in support of India and the High Commission of India.”
Indian student activist Rashmi Samant said: “It feels amazing to be here at the High Commission. What you see here is truly the bharatiya (Indian) spirit, which is positivity, love and inclusivity.
“This gathering here is a true testament of who we are, truly Indian.”
Jayu Shah of the Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK added: “As a British citizen I feel very sad every time the Indian High Commission is attacked. I am going to be writing to the Prime Minister’s office here and also parliamentarians to ask them to intervene to support the staff at India House.”
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami had hosted a diaspora briefing at India House this week to address the concerns of the community leaders following the attack over the weekend that resulted in shattered windows and some officials sustaining minor injuries.
Scotland Yard has said its enquiries continue and one man arrested on suspicion of violent disorder has been bailed to appear in court in mid-June.
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The Indian government has lodged a strong protest and called on the British authorities to ensure adequate security at India House in London. Diaspora groups are demanding tougher action, with more arrests to bring those behind the attack to justice.