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regular-article-logo Thursday, 22 February 2024

Indian High Commissioner’s gurdwara visit blocked in Scotland by pro-Khalistan extremists

During a planned visit to Glasgow Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib on Albert Drive, members of Sikh Youths UK posted videos of their face-off with gurdwara officials as a few of them approached Vikram Doraiswami’s car and asked him to leave

Our Web Desk Published 30.09.23, 02:53 PM

Videograb from twitter (@IshaniKrishnaa)

  • India has raised concern with the UK foreign office and police over an incident in which India's High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami was allegedly prevented from entering a gurdwara in Scotland, according to government sources, reported NDTV.
  • "Doraiswami was on Friday stopped by a few radicals from entering a gurdwara in Glasgow. The Indian High Commissioner decided to leave instead of getting into an argument," a government source said, NDTV quoted news agency ANI.
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The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, who was touring Scotland this week was blocked from entering a gurdwara in the city of Glasgow by pro-Khalistan extremists.

During a planned visit to Glasgow Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib on Albert Drive on Friday, members of Sikh Youths UK posted videos of their face-off with gurdwara officials as a few of them approached the High Commissioner’s car and asked him to leave, reports PTI.

The local police said it was called to the “disturbance” and its enquiries remain ongoing.

“We were called around 1.05 pm on Friday, 29 September, to a report of a disturbance that happened in the Albert Drive area of Glasgow. There were no reports of any injuries and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances,” said a Police Scotland spokesperson.

It follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in the country's Parliament last week that the authorities are “actively pursuing credible allegations" related to Indian government involvement in the murder of Nijjar, a designated terrorist, allegations which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has strongly rejected as “absurd and motivated”.

“This is exactly how we should be greeting any Indian ambassador, anyone from the Indian government who comes in an official capacity under any excuse of doing visa applications or whatever it might be,” a Sikh man is heard saying in a video posted on social media following the altercation in Glasgow.

The incident came towards the end of a two-day visit of the High Commissioner to Scotland, which involved a series of meetings and discussions with local political leaders, diaspora representatives, business chiefs and university groups.

According to officials in the know, the meeting at the gurdwara had been organised as part of the events at the request of the gurdwara committee to meet Sikh groups and address their concerns over consular and other matters.

Sources said the unnecessary altercation by a few outsiders and radical elements interrupted an interaction and community engagement planned by a majority of peace-loving Sikhs in the city.

During his meeting with Scotland’s First Minister, Hamza Yousaf, the issue of British Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal in custody on terrorism charges in India was also raised.

“Replying to some issues raised by FM (First Minister Hamza) Yousaf, HC (High Commissioner) stressed that due process is being given under laws to Mr Johal, who faces 8 serious terror charges. FM also ‘appreciated’ HC’s clear message that rights of all communities are guaranteed in India’s pluralist and free democracy,” the Indian High Commission tweeted with reference to the meeting.

The Indian mission added that the discussions with Scottish leaders ranged from India-Scotland cooperation in sectors across fintech, sustainable agriculture, tourism and water conservation.

A visit to the Scottish Parliament, a lecture entitled ‘India@75’ at the University of Edinburgh, an interaction at the University of Strathclyde and a breakfast meeting with leading business chiefs on topics ranging from whisky, aviation, energy, agriculture, green economy, space and investments were part of the packed two-day schedule to the region.

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