Crackdown On Amritpal Singh: Pro-Khalistan Protesters Attack Indian Consulate In San Francisco; US Calls It 'Absolutely Unacceptable'
The attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco by a group of pro-Khalistan protesters came in the backdrop of a police crackdown on radical preacher Amritpal Singh.
New Delhi: In the backdrop of a police crackdown on radical preacher Amritpal Singh and his associates in Punjab, a group of pro-Khalistan protesters on Monday (March 20, 2023) attacked and damaged the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, US. Raising pro-Khalistan slogans, the protesters broke open the makeshift security barriers raised by the city police and installed two so-called Khalistani flags inside the Consulate premises, which were subsequently removed. Soon thereafter, a group of angry protesters also entered the consulate premises and started hitting the door and windows with the iron rods.
Reacting to the attack, the US condemned the "vandalism" and said "it's just absolutely unacceptable"
"We certainly condemn that — that vandalism. It's just absolutely unacceptable. The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is working with local authorities," John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House, told reporters at a daily news conference when asked about the incident.
Take appropriate measures: India tells US after pro-Khalistan protesters attack Indian Consulate in San Francisco
In a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi, India conveyed its "strong protest" at the vandalisation of the property of the Consulate General of India, San Francisco.
"The US Government was reminded of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation. It was asked to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents," an official statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs read.
"Our Embassy in Washington DC also conveyed our concerns to the US State Department along similar lines," it added.
India lodges strong protest with the US.
Press Release https://t.co/cREWIZhQFd pic.twitter.com/AuU6VywHTU — Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) March 20, 2023
Meanwhile, the attack also prompted sharp condemnation from Indian Americans who demanded immediate action against those responsible for it.
"We are appalled by the complete law and order failure in both in London as well as in SFO where a few radicalised separatists attacked India's diplomatic missions," Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) said.
"We would urge law and order institutions like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI as well as the CIA to ensure that terrorism finds no place and support in the United States of America," FIIDS said.
Earlier on Sunday, the tricolour flying atop the Indian High Commission in London was grabbed at by the protesters chanting pro-Khalistani slogans.
Watch: How an Indian High commission (in London) official bravely deals with Khalistani extremists, takes back the Indian flag from Khalistani extremists & throws Khalistani flag https://t.co/QmCNQrShpn pic.twitter.com/MzH8Fo6Vtm — Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) March 19, 2023
In Canberra as well, Khalistan supporters gathered outside the Australian parliament to protest against the police crackdown on Amritpal Singh.
Pakistan's ISI 'instigating' pro-Khalistan elements to organise protests in support of Amritpal Singh
Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, which is said to be the "brain" behind the growth of Amritpal Singh, has instigated overseas Khalistan supporters to organise protests and demonstrations abroad in his support, officials said on Monday.
They said the overseas protests were the desperate attempt by the ISI to build followership of Amritpal who has been hiding from the Punjab Police for the last three days.
All these acts by the pro-Khalistan elements -- in London, San Francisco, and Canberra -- were orchestrated by ISI agents operating in different countries, the officials said.
Citing recent incidents in different parts of the world, they said there has been a design by ISI agents to organise protests, and vandalism of places of Indian interests through Khalistani elements exploiting their religious sentiments.
Last week, the Honorary Consulate of India in Australia's Brisbane city was also forced to close down due to safety concerns after Khalistan supporters organised an unauthorised gathering and blocked the entry of the office, days after Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese assured India that his government will not tolerate "extreme actions".
Several Hindu temples in Melbourne were also vandalised by Khalistan supporters in recent months.
Canada has also seen a rise in anti-India activities recently by Khalistani supporters who have vandalised some Hindu temples.
Last September, the Ministry of External Affairs had also issued a statement condemning the rise of hate crimes against Indians and anti-India activities in Canada, expressing concern with stern language.
Amritpal Singh still on the run, Punjab Police invokes NSA against his associates
The Punjab Police on Monday invoked the stringent National Security Act against five men linked to radical preacher Amritpal Singh, whose uncle and driver surrendered amid a state-wide crackdown against his "Waris Punjab De" group. The Khalistan sympathiser's uncle Harjit Singh and driver Harpreet Singh gave themselves up before the police past Sunday midnight.
Harjit Singh, who officials say helped his nephew gain control over the accounts of 'Waris Punjab De', is among the five slapped with the NSA, which allows the preventive detention of anyone who could threaten national security or public order.
Punjab Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill told reporters that specialised units are involved in the efforts to nab the preacher, who gave police the slip during a car chase in Jalandhar district on Saturday.
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Gill indicated that the preacher, who heads Waris Punjab De, could also be detained under the NSA.
The Punjab Police operation began Saturday, weeks after Amritpal Singh and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested associate.