Scotland Yard has imposed a ban on British Kashmiri protestors from assembling outside the Indian High Commission on Sunday for an anti-India Diwali protest in London. The protest was against the lockdown of the state following the revocation of Article 370.
United Kingdom Indian-origin Home Secretary Priti Patel reportedly lobbied with the Police to get the protest banned. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said in parliament that the Home Secretary will be speaking to the police to address the concerns of the Indian government in this matter.
Under Section 14 Public Order Act 1986, Scotland Yard has restricted the protestors from taking the procession to the outside of India House, which is a short distance from Parliament Square.
The protestors had applied for permission to initiate the ‘Free Kashmir procession’ from outside the Houses of Parliament to the Indian High Commission but the police has told the organisers that the protest can only be taken to Trafalgar Square along the agreed route and not to the Indian High Commission.
The police have stated in an official release that “any static assembly that is held in London on the October 27, 2019 that is in support of the Muslim Action Forum, World Muslim Federation, Pakistan Patriotic Front, Overseas Pakistan Welfare Council, Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party, the PTI, AJK or any other Pro Kashmiri Groups” must make sure that the protest will be located in Parliament Street and “following any procession must be located in Trafalgar Square” with the police providing route maps to the organsiers.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had earlier condemned plans to hold a march on Diwali and called on the organisers and prospective participants to cancel the protest rally. In response to a letter by Indian-origin London Assembly member Navin Shah, Mayor Khan had said, “I absolutely condemn the plans for a protest march to take place on the auspicious day of Diwali, in the vicinity of the Indian High Commission in London. This march will only deepen divisions at a time when Londoners need to come together.”
Nearly 20,000 protesters, waving Pakistani and Kashmiri flags, rallied outside the Indian High Commission on August 15, during which a group of protestors threw eggs at the walls of the Indian High Commission and damaged the building. At least three people had been arrested from the scene.