NEW DELHI — Ahead of a pro-Khalistan rally scheduled in London on August 12, India on Thursday said it is for Britain to decide whether to allow an event that seeks to promote violence and secessionism.
“We have drawn their (Britain’s) attention to the fact that the event in London is a separatist activity, which impinges on India’s territorial integrity,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
“We have said that it seeks to propagate violence, secessionism and hatred.
“And of course, we expect them (Britain) to take into account the larger perspective of the relationship when they take a decision in such matters.”
Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a human rights advocacy group with radical leaning, has announced that it will hold what it calls a “London Declaration” on an independence referendum for the Indian state of Punjab at Trafalgar Square in London on August 12.
Last month, India issued a demarche to Britain.
Following reports that similar events were being planned in other European countries as well as Canada and the US, Kumar said that Indian missions had been directed to take this up with the respective countries.
“We are aware that something similar is being planned in some other locations as well and we have written to our missions to take it up with the foreign offices of the respective countries,” he said.
The British government, however, has reportedly rejected earlier India’s demand for a ban on a pro-Khalistan rally on August 12 in London.
When asked about the Indian government’s request to ban the rally, a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that in the UK, people have the right to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law, news reports in British media said.
On Monday, Britain’s Green Party has come out in support of a controversial pro-Khalistan rally seeking a referendum for an independent Sikh homeland, due to take place in London at the weekend.
Caroline Lucas, a member of Parliament and co-leader of the Green Party, said she stood in “solidarity” with those joining the event on Sunday — dubbed the “London Declaration” — and for those “fighting discrimination and campaigning for a referendum around the world… Sikh people have a right to determine for themselves whether they want to establish an independent Punjabi State,” she said in a statement. — Agencies