The UK government Monday expressed regret over reports that the Indian flag was burnt during a demonstration by separatist groups outside the Indian High Commission in London on Republic Day.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was disappointed that separatist groups had chosen to take such an action, as Scotland Yard confirmed that it was working to establish the exact circumstances around the incident on Saturday.
“We are disappointed that anyone would choose to burn the Indian flag on any day, let alone the celebration of Republic Day, and we regret the upset that this will have caused, we do not condone the burning of national flags,” an FCO spokesperson said.
“On Saturday, 26 January a demonstration took place outside India House in Aldwych, WC2. An appropriate policing plan was in place,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. A small group of activists from some British Sikh and Kashmiri outfits had gathered outside India House in central London on Saturday to wave placards against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chant anti-India slogans.
“There were no incidents of note and no arrests. No allegations of crime have been reported. the statement said.
In April last year, the Indian government had demanded legal action against those behind a similar desecration of the Indian flag at Parliament Square on the side-lines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London attended by the Indian prime minister.
The perpetrators, caught on camera with the Indian tricolour, were pro-Khalistani demonstrators brought together with Kashmiri separatist groups under the banner of a so-called “Minorities Against Modi” group. Similar groups are believed to be behind the latest incident outside India House in London on Saturday.