At 11 am I received a call from a friend asking where I was. I said that I was boarding a train and would be there before 12. By the time I had reached Holborn it was exactly 12 as the roads were jammed with coaches. People were flocking towards Aldwych IHC.
The Pakistanis had planned their attack like a military operation. They had scouted out as early as 11 AM to scope out the area and had a very clear plan of action. There were 10 to 15 ringleaders who coordinated the entire attack plan. Everyone else was well briefed and well trained. First, they tried to encircle from the left flank. There was a sudden surge and deliberate attempts to break the barriers, which then did break. The Indians were trying to defend the barriers as there were hardly any police and those that were there were totally ineffective and unresponsive.
The police moved us back. This was counterproductive because the Pakistanis started to encircle us from behind where there were no police to protect us. So we were boxed in by 2,000 Pakistanis in front and 2,000 behind and the walls of the Indian High Commission on both sides. Indian strength was about 250 with roughly 50% women and children. The Pakistanis were extremely abusive, violent and use unrepeatable foul language. They were making lewd gestures and hitting women and children. One of my brothers was punched and another received a blow to the head from a glass bottle which had been lobbed at us. My friend CK Naidu who was covering the photography of the Independence Day celebrations was beaten by Pakistanis until he turned black and blue. They vandalised his camera and expensive lenses.
The Pakistanis were also extremely, extremely abusive about our dear Indian Prime Minister, who has brought unparalleled reform to India. They tried to light fire to our beloved Indian flag 🇮🇳 When it would not light they tore it into four parts. Poonam Joshi of ANI, Gampa Venugopal and I were chased as we tried to recover the Indian flag 🇮🇳
Police were very few. About 10-15 to start with and 50 later. At least 300 were needed and we kept asking them for more force but they kept their strength well below what was necessary throughout the day. They did not react to the developing situation and could not protect us.
We sought help from different sources in high offices, such as from the Home Secretary. She replied that she needed official representation from proper channels, e.g. from the Indian High Commissioner. Indian High Commission did their best but the Home Secretary did not respond quickly even to her.
Meanwhile, these Jihadis were attacking elders, women, children as well as elderly men and women with frozen water bottles and other missiles. Almost every one was hit. Children were crying and we shielded them as best as we could.
The IHC was also unable to help to safeguard 200 people for three full hours as all its entrances were occupied by the Khalistani and Pakistani Jihadi groups. If the IHC had opened their doors to help us these murderous jihadis would have rushed into the premises.
While, we were facing these protestors with tension and anxiety, we also felt a surge of unbelievable patriotism. We refused to be cowed down, and all men and women started chanting Jai Hind and Vande Mataram.
Finally, the Indian High Commissioner managed to get additional Riot Police. Their arrival was greeted by cheers and they managed to push the Jihadis back enough from the IHC’s private property to allow us to enter the High Commission.
Women, children and elders entered first. We were given a warm welcome, a meal and water. HE Ruchi Ghanshyam, the High Commissioner, welcomed us and then addressed us. She told us that this was our home and she had tried very hard to rescue us. We sang the national anthem and Vande Matram while also pledging to come to support India a 1000 times if needed. If our soldiers can take bullets for us, surely we can take a few bottles and eggs and tomatoes. We are very proud that we held our ground against these Jihadis trained by Pakistan.
It is a legal right to protest but it should be peaceful, not hurting anyone or their sentiments. But the Pakistanis protestors showed the world what kind of culture they are brought up in. They are brainwashed and trained to have Jihadi mentality – they were carrying large knives and tried to attack even the police. Only the special riots police managed to detain them.
In contrast, HE Ruchi Ghanashyam commended the peaceful resilience and bravery of the Indians in the face of adversity, threats and every possibility of a stampede.
The prologue to this event is that Pakistanis were planning this entire episode with the support of Pakistan State funds and orchestrated by a close friend of Imran Khan. Sayed Bukhari, ‘Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis & HRD’, was present and inciting the protesters. Amongst the crowd, Lord Nazir Ahmed, who is currently on trial for child sexual assault and has a history of inflammatory divisive speeches, was another leader instigating this aggression and rabid atmosphere. They had organised more than 200 buses from each and every town across the UK with the help of local mosques and madrassas and funded by Pakistan. Every bus was loaded with food and drinks supplies and refreshments were handed out throughout the protest.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Home Secretary, Preeti Patel, have not given any statements. Their negligence implies silent support by Mayor Sadiq Khan to the Pakistan state-sponsored coup. Each and every bus transporting Pakistanis to London carried valid bus permits. How did they obtain these without the support of the London Mayor?
There has been no BBC media coverage highlighting the victims’ voice. The BBC has only boasted about how effectively Pakistanis organised the protest. It is criminal that the BBC has exposed itself to taking such a biased position by promoting so many second-generation Pakistanis in key roles.
Why did the Metropolitan police not foresee and put adequate mitigation steps in place? Why did they not learn from what happened when Indian Prime Minister Modi visited the UK?
Who approved the permit for this protest and for what number of protesters?
Who is responsible for the law and order of London?
Why has Sadiq Khan not uttered a word for the victims? Does he feel he belongs to and represents one particular community only? Mr Mayor, do you want to convert London to Londonistan?
In the failure of the London Mayor’s Office, why did Number 10 Downing Street not intervene? Don’t they think 250 Indian lives matter?
The Indian diaspora of 1.5 million people should all think very carefully next time they vote. We are peaceful, community people. We contribute hugely to the economy, providing 10 per cent of the UK’s tax revenue taxes, high employment rates, and successful British businesses. Why are our voices not heard by any political party including the Labour Party and ruling Conservatives? So far no Indian Origin MP has contacted us in solidarity. It shows their response to the Indian community. When they need us we supported them in every manner. When they request our votes, we should give them a strong answer.
This is my personal experience and reflection after standing in something equivalent to a war zone. I came to develop my new hobby of photography and to celebrate India’s 73rd Independence Day with song, dance, and happiness. I left with a friend beaten black and blue, an Indian flag ripped to pieces, and memories of a very harrowing ordeal.