India issued a demarche notice to the United Kingdom against a proposed meeting by the Sikhs for Justice group who are planning a referendum campaign for Khalistan, PTI reported on Friday. The group is campaigning for a referendum in 2020 to garner support for the “independence of Punjab”.
The Sikhs for Justice group has been campaigning for a referendum called the London Declaration scheduled on August 12 at London’s Trafalgar square. The campaign seeks to “end Indian occupation of Punjab”.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the event was being organised by fringe elements. “We have taken up the matter with the UK government,” Kumar said. “We have also issued a demarche and we expect that the United Kingdom government does not allow any such group to use its country whose intention is to spread hate and which can affect our bilateral ties. We have told them the intention of the event is the same.
The British Commission issued a statement condemning the event, ANI reported. “In the United Kingdom, people have the right to gather and demonstrate views within law,” the statement said. “We will not tolerate groups who spread hate or raise community fears by bringing disorder to towns and cities. Police have powers to deal with such activities.”
Kumar said relations between the Sikh community with the countries they live in abroad and with India are close.