LONDON: The Metropolitan Police is on alert ahead of a major anti-Indian government protest in London after Narendra Modi revoked Article 370 ending the special status of Kashmiris and appeal by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Adviser on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari to the Pakistani diaspora to observe August 15 as ‘Black Day’ holding protests outside Indian embassies in their respective countries to show solidarity with the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).
A spokesman of Scotland Yard said it was aware of the planned protest at noon on 15 August and had policing arrangements in place. Intelligence reports suggest that the number of protesters will be in thousands – making it the biggest ever protest against India in Britain – but the police refused to discuss the number of police on duty. A source shared that more than 200 police officers will be on duty to maintain the crowd and prevent any road blockings and clashes.
The 15 August protest will be joined by diaspora communities from all political parties, uniting them rarely for the issue of occupied Kashmir. Two pro-Khalistan Sikh groups and secular Indian organizations will be in attendance at the protest.
In a statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser, who will be himself attending the protest, said it was moral obligation of all to speak up for the Kashmiri brothers and sisters, who were living in difficult circumstances under the Nazi like regime of Narendra Modi.
Pro-Modi Indian groups had initially announced to hold a counter-demonstration but changed their plans after realizing that pro-Kashmir protestors will be huge in numbers and things could spiral out of control. One of the groups shared on Tuesday that it was still considering to go ahead with the counter-demonstration but was not sure.
Dozens of Kashmiri and Pakistani groups have announced to attend the protest outside the Indian High Commission, near London High Court. The outrage against India’s revocation of Article 370 is so huge that a few nationalist Kashmiri groups, seen to be close to Indian establishment, have also announced to join the protest and have already held three demonstrations at the same venue. Student societies from various universities in London spent Tuesday devoted to preparing banners and placards for the ‘Black Day protest’.
Kashmir groups have made arrangements from Birmingham, Luton, Bradford, Manchester and Nottingham to take part in the protest. Private transport has been arranged for the day of protests against Modi’s government. Its estimated that around 10 thousand people will attend the protest.
Indian High Commission has been the center of demonstrations against India after the BJP formed the government. Kashmir and Indian groups have held protests at the venue regularly against human rights abuses against minorities in India. Sikh groups have assembled here regularly calling for the release of Sikh prisoners. Indian groups have used the venue to condemn the rise of Hindutva ideology and fascism under Modi regime.
Protesters in London will be holding signs expressing solidarity with occupied Kashmir after India scrapped the region’s special constitutional status.
On 5th August, the government of Narendra Modi revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution, rescinding years of autonomy enjoyed by the Indian occupied Kashmir.
Since the move, mobile phone networks, landlines, and internet access have all been cut off.