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U.K.’s Green Party comes out in support of August 12 pro-Khalistan rally

Posted in World

Published on August 12, 2018 with No Comments

Britain’s Green Party has come out in support of a controversial pro-Khalistan rally due to take place in London at the weekend, in support of a referendum for an independent Sikh homeland.

Caroline Lucas, Member of Parliament and co-leader of the Green Party, said in a statement that 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.”

The rally, due to take place in the afternoon of August 12, in central London, has heightened tensions between India and the U.K., after Britain said it wouldn’t ban the demonstration despite concerns raised by India.

Last month the India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said they expected the U.K. government not to allow a group “whose intention is to spread hatred and impact our bilateral relations,” to use the country. He emphasised “good relations” with the Sikh community more widely, but expressed concerns around “fringe elements” who sought to spread “hatred and communal disharmony”.

The British government has said that people had the right to gather together and demonstrate their views, provided they did so within the law. It wouldn’t “tolerate anyone who spread hate or deliberately raised 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 rally in London is being organised by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which said it hoped to use the rally to raise awareness of its plans to hold a non-binding referendum in 2020. The group said that members of the British Sikh community had written to their MPs urging them to support the London Declaration and “oppose India’s interference.”

Ms. Lucas is the first British MP to publicly voice support for the campaign and rally.

Over the past few weeks, the SFJ have been using social media to highlight groups they said would be coming from other parts of Britain and Europe to take part in the rally.

 

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