UK apologizes after protesters tear down Indian flag in London

Gogona Saikia

UK apologizes after protesters tear down Indian flag in London

20 Apr 2018: UK apologizes after protesters tear down Indian flag in London

The UK has apologized after protesters tore off the Indian flag from an official Commonwealth flagpole, ripped it up and stamped on it during PM Narendra Modi's visit.

The Foreign Office said people have the right to protest peacefully, but condemned the "action taken by a minority in Parliament Square."

Agitators were demonstrating against alleged atrocities against minorities in India and increasing sexual crimes.

Anti-Modi protests: Protesters demand justice for Kathua victim, Gauri Lankesh and others

Modi's UK visit has been marked by protests for and against him by different groups. Opposing his arrival are groups like the pro-Khalistan Sikh Federation UK, Minorities Against Modi, Caste Watch UK, South Asia Solidarity, and Kashmiri separatist outfits.

Carrying banners with messages like 'Modi, you have blood on your hands,' demonstrators have demanded justice for the Kathua victim and murdered journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Violence: Violent agitators rip off the tricolor, Indian journalists also manhandled

On Wednesday, things turned violent when nearly 500 anti-Modi agitators had gathered in Parliament Square.

Some members tore down the tricolor from one of the official flagpoles of the 53 Commonwealth countries, which have the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled.

Indian journalists were also allegedly manhandled in the melee. Scotland Yard officers had to intervene to rescue them.

May: British PM evades questions in parliament on anti-India protests

Though UK later apologized, PM Theresa May evaded a direct response when an MP asked her if she would condemn messages "attacking our good friend PM Modi."

Without outrightly addressing it, she said, "India is indeed a good friend of the UK."

"When I spoke to PM Modi, we discussed how we can encourage and increase the links and development between our two countries."

Pro-Modi demos: Meanwhile, saree-clad women in flash mob cheer for Modi

On the other side, pro-Modi groups are "welcom(ing) the Indian PM to the UK and show(ing) him the diaspora support he enjoys."

Earlier on Wednesday, women in colorful sarees cheered for Modi and danced in a flash mob.

Later, the Friends of India Society International spearheaded Indian diaspora outside Downing Street and near Parliament Square, carrying messages like "Jai Hind" and "Chak De India."

Comments: Rape is a rape, shouldn't be politicized: Modi

Modi arrived in London Tuesday on a four-day visit, primarily for the CHOGM.

The next day, he addressed the Kathua and Unnao rapes at a public program in London, saying "rape is rape" and it shouldn't be politicized.

"How can we tolerate this exploitation of our daughters? But can we compare the number of rapes in different governments?" Modi asked.