Ateet Sharma / New Delhi
Pakistanis singing Indian national song is rare. But Sunday saw quite a few of them joining hundreds of Indians, literally hand in hand, in a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in London.
Arif Aajakia, a Pakistani human rights activist who believes in speaking "bitter and naked truth" about his country, shouted "boycott China" and "down with China" along with the members of several Indian diaspora groups protesting against China's expansionist policies. "Today was also the first time in my life that I sang Vande Mataram," said Aajakia.
Joining him also was Amjad Ayub Mirza, who hails from Mirpur in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), a few others from Karachi and many from Iran, all pretty upset with China meddling in their affairs too. "I have travelled all the way from Glasgow for this protest. I am from PoK, an Indian living under Pakistani occupation. The Chinese are wreaking havoc across Gilgit-Baltistan through CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and the Pakistani government continues to work hand in glove with them," said Mirza, who has been quite vocal against oppression and injustice meted out to the people of PoK by Pakistani authorities.
The Indians, who've organised similar protests against China in the US, Canada and other parts of the world, carried posters and placards against Chinese President Xi Jinping, asking him to control his over-ambitious power play.
The growing outrage against China is quite visible on the streets of London too. In fact, Saturday night saw an image reading 'Free Tibet, Free Hong Kong, Free Uyghurs' projected onto the Chinese Embassy building in central London.
With the US sanctioning the Chinese government and officials for their connection to serious rights abuse against ethnic Uyghur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, the world condemning China's 'brutal, sweeping crackdown' against Hong Kong's people, Indians boycotting Chinese products after People's Liberation Army intruded the Indian territory and killed Indian soldiers in Ladakh's Galwan Valley and countries from Japan to Australia up against the dragon, the noose is gradually tightening around the authoritarian regime.