There were angry scenes at a cinema in London on Tuesday evening (15 November) when the former Indian Prime Minister Mrs.` Gandhi appeared to address a public meeting.
There were angry scenes at a cinema in London on Tuesday evening (15 November) when the former Indian Prime Minister Mrs.` Gandhi appeared to address a public meeting. Mrs. Gandhi, on a brief visit to the United Kingdom, was forced to cut short her speech.
SYNOPSIS: A large crowd gathered outside the Dominion Cinema in Southall, a London suburb with a large Indian immigrant population. Their mood was angry and there was a large police presence.
The jeering increased as Mrs. Gandhi arrived and an egg thrown by the crowd narrowly missed her. Mrs. Gandhi had been invited to speak at a meeting organised by the Indian Workers' Association.
Inside the cinema, her supporters in the 4,000 strong Indian audience failed to silence several hundred chanting opponents.
Sympathetic members of the audience were out shouted by groups supporting the Naxalites, a left-wing Marxist political party in India. Some demonstrators identified themselves as members of the Indian Marxist-Leninist Party, others as members of the Sikh Akali party. Jointly their message was clear.
Mrs. Gandhi has described her visit as a private one, to attend celebrations marking the anniversary of the birth of her father Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India. She must be back in Delhi by November 20th to face charges of electoral malpractice and was allowed to leave India on the understanding she made no political speeches, but already, she has attracted criticism in the British press. In Southall, though making no direct reference to her 21 month period of emergency rule, she talked on questions of democracy and faced continual heckling.
Mrs. Gandhi's appearance at the cinema was scheduled an hour, but she left shortly after making the 10 minute speech in Hindi. She was smuggled from the building by a back door to avoid the hostile crowds.