The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, who was touring Scotland this week was blocked from entering a gurdwara in the capital Glasgow by pro-Khalistan extremists.
During a planned visit to Glasgow Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib on Albert Drive on Friday, members of Sikh Youths UK posted videos of their face-off with gurdwara officials as a few of them approached the High Commissioner’s car and asked him to leave.
It follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in the country's Parliament last week that the authorities are “actively pursuing credible allegations" related to Indian government involvement in the murder of Nijjar, a designated terrorist, allegations which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has strongly rejected as “absurd and motivated”.
“This is exactly how we should be greeting any Indian ambassador, anyone from the Indian government who comes in an official capacity under any excuse of doing visa applications or whatever it might be,” a Sikh man is heard saying in a video posted on social media following the altercation in Glasgow.
The incident came towards the end of a two-day visit of the High Commissioner to Scotland, which involved a series of meetings and discussions with local political leaders, diaspora representatives, business chiefs and university groups.
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According to officials in the know, the meeting at the gurdwara had been organised as part of the events at the request of the gurdwara committee to meet Sikh groups and address their concerns over consular and other matters.
Sources said the unnecessary altercation by a few outsiders and radical elements interrupted an interaction and community engagement planned by a majority of peace-loving Sikhs in the city.
During his meeting with Scotland’s First Minister, Hamza Yousaf, the issue of British Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal in custody on terrorism charges in India was also raised.
“Replying to some issues raised by FM (First Minister Hamza) Yousaf, HC (High Commissioner) stressed that due process is being given under laws to Mr Johal, who faces 8 serious terror charges. FM also ‘appreciated’ HC’s clear message that rights of all communities are guaranteed in India’s pluralist and free democracy,” the Indian High Commission tweeted with reference to the meeting.
The Indian mission added that the discussions with Scottish leaders ranged from India-Scotland cooperation in sectors across fintech, sustainable agriculture, tourism and water conservation.
A visit to the Scottish Parliament, a lecture entitled ‘India@75’ at the University of Edinburgh, an interaction at the University of Strathclyde and a breakfast meeting with leading business chiefs on topics ranging from whisky, aviation, energy, agriculture, green economy, space and investments were part of the packed two-day schedule to the region.