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Britain's left-wing Green Party backs pro-Khalistan rally

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's left-wing today threw its support behind the pro-rally planned at in on Sunday, an event opposed by

The of the political party, which campaigns for environmentally friendly policies, spoke out in favour of the so-called "Declaration" for a "Referendum 2020 campaign seeking a "sovereign state of Khalistan", being organised by US-based group for Justice.

"Sikh people have a right to determine for themselves whether they want to establish an independent Punjabi state, said Caroline Lucas, the party's only elected in the

"I stand in solidarity with all those joining the Declaration, and those fighting discrimination and campaigning for a referendum around the world," she said.

The first open support from a British for the controversial rally came as the reiterated its stance on the issue had remained unchanged.

A had said in a statement last month: In the UK people have the right to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.

has registered its formal opposition to the event through a demarche when of the rally emerged in July, with the (MEA) saying it expected the would not allow any such group whose intention was to spread hatred and impact our bilateral relations to use UK soil for such a rally.

for Justice (SFJ) says the rally is intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020, calling for the Sikh-majority state of to be granted independence.

"It is the success of the British Sikh community, which sent more than 47,000 emails to their MPs urging them to support London Declaration and oppose India's interference, said Paramjeet Singh Pamma, one of the organisers and UK-based Khalistani activist wanted in over his alleged involvement in bombings in in 2010 charges he denies.

said it had not received any complaints regarding the event on Sunday, which will be allowed to go ahead without any restrictions.

There are no restrictions on the event and we have not received any complaints. An appropriate and proportionate policing plan is in place, a said.

Opposition Preet Kaur Gill, who chairs the (APPG) for British as the first female Sikh MP in the House of Commons, said she supported the group's right to protest safely and in peace with all relevant permissions.

She struck a note of caution that non-binding referendum have very little impact on governments and called on the organisers to give due regard to the possible implications of those taking part in any such potential referendum, as the issue has seen some young people imprisoned in India for promoting the idea.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 20:55 IST