Sikh Separatist Rally to be Held in London Despite India’s Protest: Report
The event, scheduled to take place at Trafalgar Square in London on Aug. 12, has been organized by a separatist group to call for a “referendum” on Khalistan.
The United Kingdom government has reportedly rejected the Indian government’s request to prevent a pro-Khalistan rally from taking place in London next week. The event, scheduled to take place at Trafalgar Square in London on Aug. 12, has been organized by the U.S.-based separatist group, Sikhs for Justice, to call for a “referendum” on creation of Khalistan.
“In the UK, people have the right to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law,” the Hindustan Times reported a UK government spokesperson as saying. “However, we will not tolerate any groups who spread hate or deliberately raise community fears and tensions by bringing disorder and violence to our towns and cities and the police have comprehensive powers to deal with such activities,” the spokesperson added.
The Indian High Commission in London acknowledged that they had received a similar response, but did not comment further, the report added.
A similar response was sent to Indian officials over the “note verbales” sent to the UK government earlier, requesting it to ban the event, the publication reported, citing sources.
“An appropriate and proportionate policing plan is in place,” thetimes.co.uk quoted the Metropolitan police as saying.
Meanwhile, members of the Sikh diaspora in the country are voicing their opposition for the event. British businessman and philanthropist of Indian origin, Rami Ranger, tweeted: “These handful of Sikhs are an embarrassment to Sikhs at large and also an impediment to progress in Punjab”.
These handful of Sikhs are an embarrassment to Sikhs at large and also an impediment to progress in Punjab. https://t.co/Gfs6WJUWU3
— Rami Ranger CBE (@RamiRanger) August 4, 2018
Imagine, if people of Scotland make demand for a referendum for their independence in India? The right way is to establish a political party in Punjab & fight election with an agenda of Khalistan to test the strength of your logic. No point making noises in an undemocratic manner https://t.co/MglbxizRai
— Rami Ranger CBE (@RamiRanger) August 3, 2018
The call for referendum is a “mischief making by people who have no connections with Punjab,” Jasbir Singh Parmar, the Chairman of British #Asian Chamber of Commerce UK, had earlier said.
‘’People demanding 4 #Referendum2020 #Khalistan have they ever visited #Punjab ?‘’Jasbir Singh Parmar-Chairman #British #Asian Chamber of Commerce UK @abpnewstv @aajtak @CNNnews18 @sikhchannel @akaalchannel @sangattv @PTC_Network @ptcnewsindia @timesofindia @thetribunechd @ndtv pic.twitter.com/Iw11flROlO
— Charan Sekhon (@ckssekhon) July 28, 2018
Many other Sikhs in the United Kingdom are also raising their voice against the event, calling it a “propaganda.”
— Charan Sekhon (@ckssekhon) July 30, 2018
About 10,000 Sikhs are expected to attend the event, the Times reported, citing Paramjeet Singh Pamma, a key organizer of the rally. Many of the participants are being brought from other parts of the country to London, where they would seek to issue a “London Declaration” over the “Referendum 2020” call, he added.
Pamma is wanted in India over his suspected involvement in twin bomb blasts in Punjab in 2010. He is also accused as the main conspirator in the murder of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat president Rulda Singh that took place in 2009. The alleged Khalistani militant left India in 1994-95 and has been living in the United Kingdom since 1999. He was arrested by the Portuguese police in 2015 on a red corner alert issued on the request of the Indian government. But Portugal turned down the extradition request by India and released him in 2016.
The Indian government had termed the rally an “anti-India activity” and lodged a protest with the United Kingdom last month.
“We have taken up the matter with the UK government. We have also issued a demarche and we expect that the UK government does not allow any such group to use its country whose intention is to spread hate and which can affect our bilateral ties,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at the time. “We have told them the intention of the event is the same.”