Khalistan supporters protest in US | Photo: PTI
Washington The United States government has condemned recent violent incidents that have taken place during protests at Indian diplomatic facilities in the US, while also terming that violence, or the threat of violence is never an acceptable form of protest and is of "grave concern."
The response from the US Department of State comes after the pro-Khalistan supporters in the US threatened the Indian embassy and Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu during their protest on Saturday.
On Saturday, Pro-Khalistan supporters in the US threatened the Indian embassy and Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu during their protest. While rallying outside the mission, a protestor in his speech made a direct threat to the Ambassador that the "hypocrisy" will come to an end and that the Ambassador could face a similar fate to what former president of India Zail Singh faced back in 1994.
"Violence or the threat of violence against diplomatic facilities and personnel in the United States is a grave concern and will not be tolerated," US Department of State spokesperson told ANI.
Multiple incidents of protests by supporters of Khalistan have been staged outside the Indian embassy and the San Francisco Consulate. Earlier this week, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco was also attacked on March 20. Recently a video surfaced on social media in which pro-Khalistani protestors gathered at the consulate in San Francisco, shouting slogans in support of Amritpal and heckling staff as they abandoned the diplomatic mission.
"The United States government condemns recent violent incidents that have taken place during protests at Indian diplomatic facilities in the United States," the Spokesperson further added.
"The Department supports the First Amendment rights of protestors in the United States to engage in free speech. However, violence, or the threat of violence is never an acceptable form of protest," the spokesperson further said.
The State Department and the local law enforcement agencies are in touch with local law enforcement on the next steps in this matter. India too lodged a strong protest with the US Charge d'Affaires in Delhi over the incident of vandalism at the Consulate General in San Francisco.The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said the US government was asked to take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents that took place earlier this month.
The US Department of State spokesperson termed that violence or the threat of violence against diplomatic facilities and personnel in the US a "grave concern."
"Violence or the threat of violence against diplomatic facilities and personnel in the United States is a grave concern and will not be tolerated," the spokesperson said.
The US Department of State spokesperson further said, "Consistent with our Vienna Convention obligations, the Department is committed to taking all appropriate steps, including coordination with federal and state law enforcement authorities, to protect the safety and security of these facilities and the diplomats who work within them."
When asked about journalists being abused by Khalistani supporters, the US Department of State spokesperson said, "attacks against journalists are never acceptable. We condemn any incidence of violence against a member of the media for doing their job, and any act of vandalism against diplomatic facilities."
A Washington DC-based Indian journalist was physically attacked and verbally abused by Khalistan supporters in Washington while covering a pro-Khalistan protest outside the Indian Embassy on Saturday afternoon. The Indian embassy in the US has condemned the incident.
Condemning the incident, the Indian embassy said in a statement, "We condemn such a grave and unwarranted attack on a senior journalist. Such activities only underscore the violent and anti-social tendencies of the so-called 'Khalistani protestors' and their supporters, who routinely engage in wanton violence and vandalism."
Hundreds of Khalistan supporters gathered outside the Indian Embassy in the United States. The protesters included turbaned men of all ages who raised pro-Khalistan slogans. They came in from different parts of the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area and Philadelphia. The organisers used mics to make anti-India speeches both in English and Punjabi and targeted the Punjab Police for alleged human rights violations.
Visuals shared online show a huge mob brandishing Khalistan flags mounted on wooden poles, using them to smash glass doors and windows of the consulate building. The United States strongly condemned the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco by a group of separatist Sikhs, terming it absolutely unacceptable.