Taiwo Owatemi, Labour MP, apologises for supporting Khalistani group. Photograph:( Twitter )
Her deleted tweet is being used by a number of 'ghost' Twitter handles for their own propaganda purposes
A British Labour MP Taiwo Owatemi has apologised after extending support to banned Khalistani group, Sikh for Justice (SFJ) and pointed out how a staff member "posted the tweet" from her account for the group.
In a tweet she said, "A small number of individuals emailed me to post a suggested tweet supporting Sikhs for Justice. Unbeknown to me a staff member who helps to run my social media posted the tweet." Adding, "This has now been deleted. I sincerely apologise for any offence caused to any of my constituents."
A small number of individuals emailed me to post a suggested tweet supporting Sikhs for Justice. Unbeknown to me a staff member who helps to run my social media posted the tweet. This has now been deleted. I sincerely apologise for any offence caused to any of my constituents.— Taiwo Owatemi MP (@TaiwoOwatemi) December 12, 2020
In her earlier tweet, she not only extended support for the group banned by India just last year but also said, "I stand with #SIkhForJustice and the Sikh community's right to self-determination on #UNDayOfHumanRights". She later deleted the tweet.
But her tweet is being used by a number of "ghost" Khalistani Twitter handles for their own propaganda purposes. SFJ has been very active on social media and promotion of Khalistani activities.
The development comes even as the group has organized a number of protests in the United Kingdom in front of the Indian high commission in London and consulate in Birmingham. Last weekend's protest saw around 3,500-4,000 people in front of the Indian mission, violating the COVID protocols. London's Metropolitan Police arrested 13 due to violation of the pandemic protocols. During the protest was present Paramjit Singh Pamma, who is on National Investigation Agency's most wanted list.
Labour party's popularity amongst the Indian diaspora sharply fell under the previous party chief Jeremy Corbyn who had criticized New Delhi after removal of special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian origin people in the UK form a substantial part of the British population, and actions of the Labour leadership dented ties. Under the new leadership led by Keir Starmer, attempts have been made for a reach out, including calling Kashmir a bilateral issue between Indian and Pakistan.