The United Kingdom on Friday defended its decision to allow a pro-Khalistan rally to go ahead in London on Sunday, saying people in the country have the right to protest as long as they act within the law. India has called the planned rally a “separatist activity”.

The controversial pro-Khalistan rally is being held by a group called Sikhs for Justice in support of a referendum in 2020 for an independent Sikh homeland.

“Should a protest contravene the law, the police have powers to deal with activities that spread hate or deliberately raise tensions through violence or public disorder,” the British High Commission in New Delhi tweeted on Friday.

“This does not negate the right to peaceful protest,” a spokesperson of the British High Commission told PTI. “The use of these powers and the management of demonstrations are an operational matter for the police.”

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called the pro-Khalistan rally a “separatist activity, which impinges on India’s territorial integrity”. He said it was up to Britain to decide whether to allow an event that seeks to promote violence and secession.

The British government has refused to ban the campaign and the demonstration despite India’s objections. Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a demarche notice to the United Kingdom against the proposed meeting. The British High Commission then issued a statement condemning the event.

An MP of UK’s left-wing Green Party, Caroline Lucas, was the first British lawmaker to publicly back the campaign and the rally. “Sikh people have a right to determine for themselves whether they want to establish an independent Punjabi state,” she said earlier this week.