Hundreds of people turned out at Trafalgar Square, London, last week in support of a pro-Khalistan rally as well as to counter the event with an Independence Day celebration.
According to reports, the ‘we stand with India’ and ‘Love My India’ events were organised by the Indian diaspora group in London. The event was held as a reaction to the pro-Khalistan London Declaration for Referendum 2020.
The pro-India group, confined to a demarcated area of the square away from the anti-India rally, waved the Indian tricolour, placards reading India Jai Ho and Vande Mataram, and beat their dhols in an attempt to drown out some of the speeches in favour of the so called Referendum 2020.
Indian Sikhs do not want this Referendum 2020, they do not even know what the Referendum is about, who is organising it and why, informed Navdeep Singh, one of the organisers of the pro-India demonstration.
On the other end, the pro-Khalistani supporters shouted slogans such as Khalistan Zindabad and waved anti-India placards. Pakistani origin House of Lords peer Lord Nazir Ahmed was among the key speakers for the group.
Scotland Yard, which had confirmed that an appropriate and proportionate policing plan would be in place for the demonstrations at Trafalgar Square, maintained a watchful eye over the proceedings, which remained largely peaceful with no face-offs being allowed to get out of control by the vigilant police officers.
Raveesh Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, had issued a statement where he expressed India’s disappointment at the stance taken.
In the statement he said, “We have said that it seeks to propagate violence, secessionism, and hatred, and we expect them to take into account the larger perspective of the relationship when they take a decision on such matters.”
A UK government spokesperson had earlier allowed the rally to go ahead, saying that in the UK people have the right to gather together, and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the frame of the law.