London: Members of the Indian diaspora took to social media on Friday to question police preparedness for pre-planned anti-India protests led by British Pakistani groups, a day after violent clashes outside the Indian High Commission in London.
The so-called Black Day protests were organised to coincide with Independence Day celebrations at the Indian mission and resulted in four arrests after Scotland Yard officers intervened to break up a face-off between anti-India and pro-India demonstrators.
Many Indian-origin activists were caught up in a lockdown situation and sought refuge inside India House as they were targeted with stones, bottles and eggs.
We literally waited for 2.5 hours for more police force to arrive. The situation was so bad that we were not even able to go out. All the women and kids were frightened to say the least, said one of the members of the group, which had gathered with tricolours and pro-India banners to mark Independence Day.
The protestors cornered the Indian diaspora who were at the High Commission to celebrate Independence Day and attacked them with eggs, potatoes and water bottles, added another.
The demonstration was aimed at countering the anti-India protest, organised by Pakistani groups as well as Sikh and Kashmiri separatist outfits, with the focus largely on the Indian government's recent decision to revoke Article 370 that gave the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The two demonstrations had been demarcated with metal barriers outside India House but as thousands began to gather, Metropolitan Police officers could be seen struggling to keep the aggressive anti-India protestors from breaking across the divide.
"Talked to members of Indian diaspora in London. They are under shock but their resolve is firm. Talked to our High Commissioner. Timely intervention by her resulted into safe passage to everyone, read a Twitter statement by Vijay Chauthaiwale, the Head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the BJP, who said he has also raised the matter with external affairs minister S. Jaishankar "It's time for (London Mayor) Sadiq Khan, Met Police to take appropriate action against these goons. Hope the British High Commission in India too take a note, he added.
The Metropolitan Police, which had said that proportionate policing arrangements with public order trained officers had been put in place for Thursday's pre-planned demonstrations, claimed the protests had been largely peaceful involving a small number of incidents.
In total there were four arrests for Section 4 of the Public Order Act, affray, obstruction of police and possession of an offensive weapon, a Met Police statement said.
Investigations following the arrests remain ongoing.