London, September 30
A British government minister expressed concern on Saturday that a visit by a senior Indian diplomat to a gurdwara in Glasgow had been disrupted by protesters the day before.
"The safety and security of foreign diplomats is of utmost importance and our places of worship in the UK must be open to all," junior foreign office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.
"(I'm) concerned to see that the Indian High Commissioner ... was stopped from meeting with the Gurdwara Committee at the Gurdwara in Glasgow," she added in a post on social media.
Long-standing tensions between some Sikhs and the Indian government have increased since Canada earlier this month linked the killing of a Sikh separatist advocate near Vancouver to Indian government agents - allegations which India has dismissed as "absurd".
India's embassy to Britain, known as a high commission, issued a statement on Saturday saying its top diplomat Vikram Doraiswami and another senior official had been due to meet community leaders at a Sikh gurdwara or place of worship on Friday in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city.
The high commission said three protesters - whom it described as "non-local extremist elements" - threatened its diplomats and one tried to open the door of Doraiswami's car, prompting the officials to abandon the visit.
A spokesperson for Scotland's police force said officers had been called to a report of a disturbance near the gurdwara, but no arrests had been made.
"There were no reports of any injuries and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances," the police spokesperson said.
Canada and Britain are home to the largest populations of Sikhs outside India, after some Sikhs emigrated to flee violence in the 1970s and 1980s in the Indian state of Punjab that killed thousands.
India complained to Britain earlier this year after Sikh separatists detached the Indian flag from the country's high commission in central London and called for better security. Reuters
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