Islamabad, Aug. 5 (TNS): The Theresa May government has rejected New Delhi’s demand to ban a pro-Khalistan event on August 12, saying that people in the country have the right to gather and demonstrate views within the law, as opposition grew within the Indian community.
A US-based group called Sikhs for Justice is preparing for the event in Trafalgar Square, when a ‘London Declaration’ is supposed to be issued, calling for a ‘referendum’ on independence of Punjab.
The event has revived New Delhi’s long-standing demand that London clamp down on such elements.
Official sources said the ministry of external affairs and the Indian high commission sent ‘note verbales’ to the foreign office, requesting the British government to deny permission for the event.
Y K Sinha, Indian high commissioner, also met Mark Field, foreign office minister, on this issue.
However, amid some unease in Indian quarters over the event, a UK government spokesperson told Hindustan Times: “In the UK, people have the right to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.”
“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 said.