Amid continuing Indian concerns about Khalistani elements rearing their head once again in the United Kingdom (UK), the latter has indicated that searches carried out against some of them in September conveys the government’s intentions.
In another issue that continues to be an irritant in bilateral ties—India has been seeking the extradition of industrialist Vijay Mallya—the UK has reiterated that it’s for the courts to decide on the matter.
The West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) searched a number of properties in Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry last month in connection with elements propounding the cause of Khalistan in the UK. The WMCTU had said then “these searches were conducted in connection with allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences”.
These searches were based on intelligence gathered over a period of time, said diplomatic sources. The warrants were scrutinised and issued by the courts, they added. They further noted that the probe is led by the WMCTU and is not directed by either the UK or the Indian government. “It is a police matter and the investigation is ongoing,” said sources.
As for the protests in August by those supporting the creation of Khalistan, sources reiterated the UK government’s stated position on the matter. “People in the UK have a right to protest and demonstrate provided they act within the law”.
The UK government’s decision to allow the pro-Khalistan rally in London had caused dismay and anger in New Delhi. The Ministry of External Affairs had described the proposed rally as a “separatist activity which impinges on India’s territorial integrity”. It had also said that it was up to the UK to decide if it should allow an event that seeks to promote violence and secession.
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