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August 14, 2019

Scotland Yard on alert ahead of big anti-Modi protest in London

Top Story

August 14, 2019

LONDON: The Metropolitan Police is on alert ahead of a major anti-Indian government protest in London in the wake of Narendra Modi’s revocation of Article 370 and the subsequent appeal by Prime Minister’s Adviser Zulfi Bukhari to the Pakistani diaspora to observe the Indian independence day as a ‘Black Day’ by holding protests outside Indian embassies in their respective countries to show solidarity with the people of held Kashmir (IHK).

A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was aware of the planned protest at noon on August 15 and had policing arrangements in place. Number of protesters are anticipated to be in the thousands — making it the biggest ever protest against India in Britain — but the police refused to discuss the number of police on duty. A source told The News that more than 200 police officers will be on duty to maintain the crowd and prevent clashes and attempts to block roads.

The August 15 protest will be joined by diaspora communities from all political parties, in a rare display of unity. Two pro-Khalistan Sikh groups and secular Indian organisations will also be in attendance at the protest.

In a statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser, who will be himself attending the protest, said it was a moral obligation of everyone to speak up for the Kashmiri brothers and sisters, who were living in difficult circumstances under the Nazi-like regime of Narendra Modi.

Pro-Modi Indian groups had initially announced that they hold a counter demonstration but appeared to have changed their plans later. One of the groups shared a post on Tuesday that it was still considering to go ahead with the counter-demonstration but was not sure.

Dozens of Kashmiri and Pakistani groups have announced that they will attend the protest outside the Indian High Commission, near London High Court. The outrage against India’s revocation of Article 370 is so huge that a few nationalist Kashmiri groups, seen to be close to Indian establishment, have also announced that they will join the protest and have already held three demonstrations at the same venue.

Student societies from various universities in London spent Tuesday preparing banners and placards for the ‘Black Day’ protest. Kashmir groups have made arrangements from Birmingham, Luton, Bradford, Manchester and Nottingham to take part in the protest. Private transport has been arranged for the day. It is estimated that around 10 thousand people will attend the protest.

Indian High Commission has been the centre of demonstrations after the BJP formed government. Kashmir and Indian groups have held protests at the venue regularly against human rights abuses against minorities in India. Sikh groups have assembled here regularly calling for the release of Sikh prisoners. Indian groups have used the venue to condemn the rise of Hindutva ideology under the Modi regime.

Protesters in London will be holding signs expressing solidarity with Kashmir after India scrapped the region’s special constitutional status.On August 5, the government of Modi revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution, rescinding years of relative autonomy in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Since the move, mobile phone networks, landlines and internet access have all been cut off.

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