In a decision that is set to irritate New Delhi, the British government has hinted that they will not stop Pakistani protesters from holding a march in front of the Indian High Commission in London on 27 October.
The British High Commission in Delhi on Thursday said the right to protest within the scope of the law would be respected and the two countries are in close contact on this issue.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest within the law but strongly condemn any damage caused to diplomatic missions. The safety and security of diplomatic missions in the UK, and their staff, is of utmost concern and we fully recognise our obligations under the Vienna Convention,” the UK High Commission in Delhi stated in a statement on Thursday.
“We have been and remain in close contact with the Indian High Commission in London to emphasise this,” it added.
Nevertheless, the UK authorities have stated that in the case of violence or threatening behaviour, police have powers to handle such situations.
“The management of demonstrations is an operational matter for the police. Should a protest contravene the law, the police have comprehensive powers to deal with activities that spread hate or deliberately raise tensions through violence or public disorder. This does not negate the right to lawful protest,” the British Office further added.
Incidentally, the go-ahead for the protest comes a day after the Indian High Commission Office in London issued a Note Verbale or, a diplomatic letter to the UK and raised concerns about the safety and security of its High Commission staff in London.
India’s top leadership had expressed grave concern over violent protests by pro-Pakistan groups over Kashmir outside the Indian High Commission on 15 August and then again on 3 September.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue with his British counterpart Boris Johnson on 20 August.
Over 10,000 people are expected to join the anti-India protest, which is expected to commence in Downing Street and conclude outside India House.
The continuous anti-Indian protests come after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August. The abrogation of the special status of Kashmir followed a chain of events in August, leading to the imposition of a curfew in the Kashmir Valley and Pakistan raising the issue at the recently held 74th UN General Assembly.