By Reece Chaplin
After being banned from entering the UK for 10 years, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a red carpet welcome from the British government and Indian diaspora on Thursday as he began a three-day state visit to the country.
However Modi’s visit wasn’t welcomed by everyone, and after the ceremony at Wembley stadium had finished, he and all his supporters were greeted by protesters who represented Indian minorities.
There were more than 700 protesters from Kashmiri, Sikh and Indian Muslim backgrounds who gathered outside the stadium.
“We are at this demonstration today to protest against Modi and the Indian government for their illegal occupation of Kashmir and the massacre of our people,” said Najib Afsar, the chief coordinator for Jammu Kashmir Liberation Council.
Indian Muslim Federation, Castle Watch UK, Southall Black Sisters and Sikh Federation UK are groups included in this allegiance.
“This visit is one-hundred-per-cent all about trade, the event speaks for itself. He was banned from most of the west for 10 years and now he’s getting a royal air force display which says it all.” Said Jasveer Singh of the Sikh Press Association.
Over 60,000 people attended the invitation only event and it’s the largest reception any foreign head of government has ever received in the UK.
Virendra Sharma MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on India-UK Relations, “the Uk’s 1.5 million India diaspora are an excellent bridge between the UK and India. As a person of Indian origin, I am hugely looking forward to this defining moment where we can celebrate our democracies and shared values.”
Both Modi supporters and protesters waved flags on the night but the symbols on them and the occasion couldn’t of been anymore different for what they represented.