The co-leader of the Green Party in the United Kingdom has come out in support of a controversial pro-Khalistan rally that is scheduled to take place in London on Sunday, The Hindu reported. The rally is being held by a group called Sikhs for Justice in support of a referendum in 2020 for an independent Sikh homeland.
Caroline Lucas, the party’s only member in the House of Commons, said in a statement that she stood in solidarity with those participating in the event on Sunday, which has been dubbed the “London Declaration”.
“Sikh people have a right to determine for themselves whether they want to establish an independent Punjabi state,” PTI quoted her as saying. “I stand in solidarity with all those joining the London Declaration, and those fighting discrimination and campaigning for a referendum around the world.”
Lucas is the first British MP to publicly back the campaign and the rally. The Metropolitan Police in London said they were aware of the event and had been liaising with Sikhs For Justice. “There are no restrictions on the event and we have not received any complaints,” The Hindu quoted an unidentified police spokesperson as saying. “An appropriate and proportionate policing plan is in place.”
“In the United Kingdom, people have right to gather and demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within law,” ANI quoted a British High Commission spokesperson as saying.
The British government has refused to ban the campaign and the demonstration despite India’s objections. Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs India issued a demarche notice to the United Kingdom against the proposed meeting. The British High Commission then issued a statement condemning the event.