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Indian Envoy To UK Vikram Doraiswami Blocked From Visiting Gurdwara By Khalistan Supporters, India Lodges Protest With UK Govt

The Khalistani supporters at the gurdwara in Scotland's Glasgow harassed Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami and blocked him from entering the gurdwara. They also attempted to force-open the door of Doraiswami's car in what appears to be an attempt at physical violence. 

A Khalistan supporter tries to force-open the door of the car of Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Vikram Doraiswami as a gurdwara leader intervenes
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The Khalistani activists on Friday blocked Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Vikram Doraiswami from entering a gurdwara in Scotland's Glasgow. 

The Khalistani activists further harassed Doraiswami as he left the venue in his car. They gathered around his car and harassed him verbally and attempted to open the door of his car. 

In a video of the incident shared by a Khalistani organisation, it is seen at one point that a Khalistani activist manage to open the door of Doraiswami's car. The door is then closed as one of the non-Khalistani organisers intervenes and Doraiswami leaves the venue. 

The video is not available in India as the Twitter and Instagram accounts of the organisation, National Sikh Youth Federation (NSYF), are banned in the country. 

The High Commission of India in the UK raised a matter with the UK government and said in a statement that a planned interaction at Glasgow Gurdwara Saheb was "deliberately disrupted" by three "non-local extremist elements".

Doraiswami was at the gurdwara to take part in an event at the invitation to the gurdwara. The event was part of his engagement with the officials, local communities, and the Indian diaspora in the region during his two-day visit to Scotland. 

The High Commission's statement read, "This interaction was to discuss community and consular issues. The organizers included senior community leaders, ladies and Committee members, and a member of Scottish Parliament. They were threatened and abused by these elements. In an effort to prevent any potential altercation, the HC and CG decided to leave the premises shortly upon their arrival."

The High Commission also mentioned the attempt to open the door of the envoy's car and said that the action is "a matter that will require suitable police consideration". The High Commission has raised the matter with the London police and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK.

The relations between India and the UK have been tense at times over the active presence of the Khalistani organisations and activists in the country. There have been violent protests by Khalistani elements at Indian missions. Earlier in March, a Khalistani leader during a violent demonstration climbed on the balcony of the Indian High Commission in London and pulled down the Indian national flag. An Indian official from inside the mission intervened and recovered the flag. Earlier, the Khalistanis had attacked the High Commission in 2019. 

The incident of the harassment of Doraiswami was reported to the Scottish police, reported PTI. 

"We were called around 1.05 pm on Friday, 29 September, to a report of a disturbance that happened in the Albert Drive area of Glasgow. There were no reports of any injuries and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances," said a police spokesperson, as per PTI. 

After the incident, the UK Minister for Indo-Pacific expressed concerns over the episode and said that the safety for foreign diplomats is of "utmost importance" and places of worship in the country must be open to everyone. 

In the video released by NSYF, a Khalistani activist says that this is why every Indian official should be treated in the UK and elsewhere and that it was the duty of the Sikhs everywhere to oppose the Indian government. 

"I belong to the gurdwara who, understanding my responsibility to Sikhism, evicted the Indian ambassador. This is how any visiting Indian official, whether for the excuse of visa applications or any other business, should be treated. We can see the conditions of Sikhism today. Indian nationalists are going to Canada and England to martyr our lions...Sikh youths everywhere should understand their responsibility and oppose the Indian officials the way we did today at Glasgow gurdwara," said a Khalistani activist in the video. 

The video is not available in India as the account of the organisation posting it on social media is banned in India.

The Khalistani activist was referring to the death of designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June. Nijjar was the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), which is also a designated a terrorist organisation. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has claimed that the Indian government's agents could be "potentially" behind Nijjar's killing, plunging the bilateral relations to a new low. India has forcefully rejected the claim. For several years, the relations with Canada have been strained for the safe haven that the Khalistani terrorists have found there. 

The Khalistan movement seeks to carve out a separate nation for the Sikhs out of India called Khalistan. For decades, it waged a bloody insurgency in India that finally ebbed in the 1990s. While the insurgency in India ebbed in the 1990s, the movement has found strong pockets of influence abroad, most notably in Canada where several Khalistani terrorists, terrorist organisations, and gangsters have found a safe haven.

The ties with the UK have also been strained at times over the anti-India Khalistani activities in the country, particularly the attacks on Indian missions and the targeting of Indian diplomats in the country. In April after the Indian mission was targeted and the national flag was desecrated, the Indian government reportedly halted trade talks with UK for a free trade agreement in protest. 

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The PTI reported that the meeting at the gurdwara in Glasgow had been organised at the request of the gurdwara functionaries. 

"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," reported PTI.

The report further said, "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."

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