Monday 21 October 2019 4:45 AM UTC
London Oct 22: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has condemned plans to hold an anti-India march in the city on the Kashmir issue on Diwali, saying it would deepen divisions in the British capital, and called on the organisers and participants to cancel the rally.
According to the police, details on the permissions sought for the proposed march mentioned that some 5,000-10,000 people plan to start marching from Richmond Terrace near Downing Street and converge outside the Indian High Commission in London.
In response to a letter by Indian-origin London Assembly member Navin Shah, Mayor Khan said, “I absolutely condemn the plans for a protest march to take place on the auspicious day of Diwali, in the vicinity of the Indian High Commission in London.”
“This march will only deepen divisions at a time when Londoners need to come together. That is why I am calling on those organising the march and all those considering taking part in it to think again and cancel their plans,” said the Pakistan-origin London Mayor in the letter on October 18.
He said his City Hall office would be working with Scotland Yard to ensure a “robust” policing plan was in place for such a march.
In response to Mr Shah’s request to consider seeking permission to ban the protest due to public disorder fears, he added: “As you know, the power to ban marches of this nature lies solely with the Home Secretary, not with me as the Mayor of London.
I am copying this letter to both the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, so they can clearly see the extent of my concerns about this march.”
Mr Shah, in his letter, recalled the clashes outside the Indian mission on August 15.
“I understand why many British Indians are so deeply concerned. Many have felt deeply threatened and worried since the previous protests outside the Indian High Commission.
I can assure all Londoners that anyone who acts unlawfully will be accountable to the police,” Mr Khan responded.
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