UK Indians protest pro-Khalistan rally in London
13 August 2018
While pro-Khalistan groups gathered at London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday demanding ‘independence’ for Punjab, there was a counter-rally by other Indians who condemned the demand or a separate country.
Sikhs for Justice, a US-based outfit, demanded a referendum on the setting up of Khalistan, a move that has been condemned in India by many who see it as being instigated by Pakistan.
Kuldeep Shekhawat, president, Overseas Friends of BJP, said the decision of authorities in London was a betrayal by the UK, which had “a hidden agenda” to support Khalistan and Pakistan.
India had earlier demanded that the authorities should not grant permission for such a rally that was tantamount to “a separatist activity, which impinged on India’s territorial integrity.” The rally also sought to propagate violence, secessionism and hatred, Indian officials had argued. But Britain allowed the rally on grounds of freedom of expression.
According to Shekhawat, giving permission for such a rally by the British government encouraged separatist activity.
The pro-Khalistan rally was addressed by speakers including Pakistan-origin member of the House of Lords, Nazir Ahmed, who backed the support for a separate country for Sikhs. He also said there would be a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London 15 August.