India, U.K. Home Secretaries discussed Khalistani groups in January

The meeting came almost a month after a large number of people protested outside the Indian High Commission in London in support of farmers in India who are opposing the three farm laws

The Union Home Secretary held a meeting in January with his U.K. counterpart to “discuss anti-India activities of U.K-based pro-Khalistani extremist organisations” and the safety of the Indian High Commission in London, a senior government official said.

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a video conference on January 15 with Matthew John Rycroft, Permanent Secretary, Home Office of the U.K., where issues of mutual interest were discussed.

The meeting came almost a month after a large number of people protested outside the Indian High Commission in London in support of farmers in India who are opposing the three farm laws passed by the Parliament in September 2020.

After the meeting with Mr. Bhalla, the U.K. Home Secretary posted on his Twitter page, “a very productive call today with my Indian counterpart, @BhallaAjay26 . Many opportunities for even closer cooperation on home affairs in the coming year.”

There was no official statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the meeting.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) in a report on December 7, 2020 said that the demonstration in London came after a group of 36 British MPs, led by British Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, wrote to the U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab regarding the impact on British Punjabis affected by the demonstrations by farmers in India.

A spokesperson in the High Commission had said that the “gathering was led by anti-India separatists who had taken the opportunity of the protests in India to ostensibly back the farmers in India but use the opportunity to pursue their own anti-India agenda”.

One of the persons who led the protest was identified as Paramjit Singh, who was designated a terrorist along with eight others under the amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), in July 2020. The MHA notification said that the individuals were involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and from foreign soil.

“They have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilising the country, by trying to revive militancy in Punjab through their anti-national activities and through their support to and involvement in the Khalistan Movement,” a statement issued by the MHA said.

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