United Kingdom tenders apology as protesters tear Indian flag at anti-Modi rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a bilateral meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in London

The pro-Khalistani demonstrators from the Sikh Federation UK and "Minorities Against Modi" group, led by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed, were among almost 500 protesters who descended upon Parliament Square.

The two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen India-Germany cooperation, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, adding that Modi's visit "demonstrates India's mutual desire to strengthen the strategic partnership". "Enquiries continue", a Metropolitan Police statement said.

There were various groups that were protesting against PM Modi including the recent silence of the Indian PM on the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. Trucks sporting anti-Modi slogans were parked around the city and were seen outside the Parliament square. There have been no arrests. Anti-Modi protesters raised banners which read "Modi, you have blood on your hands" and "Modi Not Welcome", reported news agency PTI.

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"We are deeply anguished with the incident involving our national flag and assault on an Indian journalist at Parliament Square in London. The matter was taken up promptly and strongly with the United Kingdom side, and it has been regretted at highest level", Ministry of External Affair spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters on Thursday.

"He needs a firm reminder that India engages with its strategic partner countries with maturity and gravitas and does not take sides or make an uninformed statement on issues of disputes between two strategic partner countries", he was quoted as saying by DNA India. The flag was immediately replaced.

The demonstrators from Sikh Federation UK and "Minorities Against Modi" group, led by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed, were among almost 500 protesters who were present at the parliament Square. "We expect action, including legal, against the persons involved in the incident and their instigators", said a MEA spokesperson.

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