Despite Indian protest, Britain defends cessationist rally in London

Pro Khalistan Rally

New Delhi (NM Bureau):  While Sikh community members today held demonstrations in front of the British embassy in Delhi to protest the pro-Khalistan rally to be held in August 12, Britain today said people have right to protest. The statement of the British embassy has come even after India officially protested the holding of the rally in London.  

Sikhs for Justice, a human rights advocacy group has announced that it will hold the “London Declaration” on an independence referendum for the Indian state of Punjab at Trafalgar Square this Sunday. British High Commission in New Delhi said on Friday that people in Britain have the right to protest provided they stay within the limits of the law.

“People in the UK have a right to protest and to demonstrate their views, provided they act within the law,” the High Commission said. 

“Should a protest contravene the law, the police have powers to deal with activities that spread hate or deliberately raise tensions through violence or publicity disorder,” it added. The statement came even while Sikh community were protesting in front of the British Commission in Delhi. 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 told media during the weekly media briefing yesterday. 

 “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,” he added talking to reporters. Later India also issued a demarche to Britain in this connection.

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