Top Indian diplomat blocked from Glasgow gurdwara visit

India has complained to the Foreign Office after a top diplomat was confronted by protesters at a gurdwara in Glasgow.

The High Commission of India said Vikram Doraiswami had been invited to the place of worship to discuss community and consular issues.

But he left after he was confronted by a small number of activists on Friday.

A Sikh youth group later claimed there was a longstanding ban on Indian officials visiting gurdwaras.

The confrontation follows an international row over suggestions Indian agents may be linked to the murder of a Sikh separatist in Canada.

India has strongly rejected the claim by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau that there is “credible evidence” of Indian involvement in the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

activists approach car
Image caption,

Footage posted on social media shows three people approaching the diplomat’s car

The incident in Glasgow came during a series of engagements in Scotland by Mr Doraiswami, who is India’s High Commissioner to the UK.

Footage posted on social media shows him being approached by three people after his car pulled up outside the gurdwara in Glasgow’s Albert Drive.

He remains seated in the back of the car while one of the demonstrators appears to make an attempt to open the door.

Another protester can be heard saying: “I think it’s best if you go.”

The diplomat was then driven away.

A statement issued later by National Sikh Youth Federation on behalf of “major Sikh bodies” said the three activists had upheld “a long standing ban on Indian officials visiting gurdwaras in their official capacity”.

It went on to include an account of the incident, said to have been issued by the activists themselves, which said: “We went to prevent their entry and ask them questions, they left rapidly from the car park.”

They denied carrying out any kind of assault.

‘Disgraceful incident’

The High Commission of India said the diplomat had been invited to the building by the Gurdwara committee, and that the organisers included community leaders and an MSP.

“They were threatened and abused by these elements. In an effort to prevent any potential altercation the HC [High Commissioner] and CG [Consul General] decided to leave the premises on their arrival,” it said in a statement.

The High Commission said it had reported the “disgraceful incident” to the Foreign Office and the police.

It said the three activists were not from Scotland.

Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevleyan posted on X, formerly Twitter, that she was “concerned” by the incident.

“The safety and security of foreign diplomats is of utmost importance and our places of worship in the UK must be open to all,” she posted.

The Glasgow gurdwara said it strongly condemned the “disorderly behaviour” which caused Mr Doraiswami to abandon his planned visit.

“The Gurdwara is open to people from all communities and backgrounds, and we welcome everyone openly as per our principles of faith,” it said.

Police Scotland confirmed that it had been called to reports of a disturbance at the gurdwara at 13:05 on Friday.

“There were no reports of any injuries and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances,” a spokesperson said.

BBC.

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