Demarche to UK over ‘anti-India’ meet

NEW DELHI(TIP): India has issued a demarche to the UK protesting a meeting convened on August 12 in London by separatist organization Sikhs For Justice (SFJ).

The SFJ that claims to be an international advocacy group has offered to sponsor youth and political activists from Punjab to travel to London for the August meeting.

The meeting at Trafalgar Square is aimed at shaping up the “London Declaration on Referendum 2020” campaign seeking a separate Khalistan.

India has lodged its protest through diplomatic channels against the proposed “anti-India activity”. “We have taken it up with UK and have issued a demarche. We expect UK will not allow such anti-India activities to be carried out in UK,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

India’s official response comes a day after the British High Commission spokesperson in Delhi defended the right of people in the UK “to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law”.

“However, 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 British High Commission spokesperson told The Tribune in a cautious statement.

 Khalistan remains a sensitive issue in bilateral ties between the two countries. In April, India had lodged a protest with the UK after the Tricolour was burnt by Khalistani elements at Parliament Square, while PM Narendra Modi was addressing a diaspora event in Westminster.

“Majority of the Sikh community have good relations with India and with the country where they stay. The rest are fringe elements,” underlined Raveesh Kumar on Thursday.

 According to its legal adviser based in New York, the SFJ plans to provide sponsorship letters to participants from Punjab and also arrange free stay for them from August 10 to 14. It plans to unveil a declaration advocating for “Sikhs’ right to self-determination for the independence of Punjab” at the Trafalgar meeting.

Separatist group Sikhs For Justice plans to sponsor Punjab youth and political activists to travel to London for August 12 meet aimed at shaping up the “London Declaration on Referendum 2020” campaign seeking Khalistan

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