The British Government does not support Khalistan movement in the UK or any activity against India, British Prime Minister has assured, says Lord Rami Ranger, businessman and Chairman of British Sikh Association.
In an exclusive interview with India Today, Lord Ranger said, “I informed Prime Minister Johnson that there are some separatist organisations working for Khalistan and they want to separate Punjab, the Indian side of Punjab from India. Prime Minister categorically assured me that the British Government does not support such organisations or anything against India.”
Recently, Lord Ranger was criticised for his tweet asserting the Prime Minister’s support. Preeti Gill, member of Parliament Labour party, had replied to the post, saying, “The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations. It is positioned as the first right in the twin Human Rights Covenants-the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and (ICESCR). Most concerning.”
Mentioning the fiery twitter interaction with Preet Gill, Lord Ranger said, “You don’t get self-determination on Twitter sitting 5000 miles away. You have to go and fight your cause with the people and test your popularity.”
He further called out the organisations and people pushing for Khalistan, to renounce their British Passports, go to India, form a political party and do something “worthwhile” if they really believe in it.
Many organisations and Gurdwaras have been working in the UK under the umbrella organisation, Sikh Federation UK and also independently to further a case of Khalistan.
These organisations join hands with the pro-Pakistan Kashmiri organisation carrying out anti-India protests. One such protest has been planned on August 15 outside the Indian High Commission (HCI).
Condemning the protest on behalf of the British Sikh Association, Lord Ranger said, “I will be asking the Home Secretary to ban such movements which encourage sedition in a third country.”
Many questions have been raised in the past about the funding and support to such separatist organisations. It has been alleged that they are funded by Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and every time there is a protest, people are transported in hired vehicles, fed and paid to take part in the protests.
“This is not a secret,” Lord Ranger told India Today, “There are foreign powers who would like to cause problems in India because India’s progress is not palatable to them.”
Pro-Khalistan organisations’ nexus with Pakistan is counterintuitive. Lord Ranger further added, “If you really want to have a Khalistan, start from Pakistan. Get your Lahore Kingdom first, also get the birthplace of Guru Nanak Sahab and Kartarpur Sahab. Get these places. The capital of Sikh Raj was Lahore. Claim that capital first. Without a capital city, there is no country.”
Cases of anti-India activities carried out jointly by pro-Khalistan and pro-Pakistan Kashmiri groups are many and have become a regular feature in the UK calendar.
Gurudwaras, running under the banner of charity organisations are not allowed to be political. Yet the defiance of this law is open. Many Gurudwaras, one covered by India Today- Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara in Slough, 20 miles from London- has put up a banners supporting Khalistan in their main hall.
This case was brought to the attention of the Charity Commission by India Today who assured looking into the matter, but action is awaited.
National Sikh Youth Federation’s website in the UK, glorifies Babbar Khalsa, banned as per the UK government’s list of “proscribed terrorist organisations.” An attempt on seeking answers, India Today wrote to the Metropolitan Police, that replied saying, “The Met Police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) assesses thousands of pieces of material online every year, to identify if they breach the terms and conditions of the host site or may break UK terrorism laws. Where appropriate, the CTIRU will seek the removal of material. We do not discuss whether specific material is being or has been assessed by the CTIRU. Anyone who sees content online which they believe may promote terrorism or extremism should report it online here.”
The nexus is political. Divisive political speeches are made from inside the Gurudwaras to gain votes in UK elections. Members of pro-Khalistan groups are seen supporting political campaigns.
Now that PM Johnson has assured that he does support such groups could there be action, India Today asked Lord Ranger. He said, “Many many organisations are banned but they come up with another name”.
However, he assured to maintain pressure from his end.