Washington DC: Amidst the arson attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco by Khalistan supporters and their upcoming rally on July 8, the co-chairs of the India Caucus have condemned such elements, saying that free speech is not a license to incite violence. The comments by Ro Khanna and Michael Waltz, co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India, came days after the Indian consulate in San Francisco was arson attacked by pro-Khalistan elements. The two US congressmen said in a press release, “As co-chairs of the India Caucus, we condemn the attempted arson and vandalism at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco and the posters circulating on social media with violent rhetoric aimed at Indian diplomats.” Strongly condemn.” Including Ambassador Sandhu.

He also appealed to the US State Department to investigate the damage and take necessary action. “We support the right of every American to free speech and freedom of expression, but this is not a license to damage property or incite violence. Violence against diplomatic facilities is a criminal offense and will not be tolerated. We urge the State Department to coordinate. Law enforcement will expeditiously investigate the damage caused at the Indian consulate and hold those involved responsible, the release said.

During this, Congressman Khanna said that he knows and respects India’s ambassador to America, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. “I know and respect Ambassador Sandhu. Whenever I raise human rights issues, he always talks with civility, thoughtfulness and candor. This rhetoric harms diplomats. It is dangerous and has no place in a democracy. Free speech doesn’t mean a license to incite violence, tweeted US Congressman Ro Khanna.

Sources told . that earlier, on July 2 at around 1.40 am (local time) a group of Khalistan fundamentalists attempted to set fire to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. A video of the incident was verified by sources, who told . that the fire was quickly doused by the San Francisco Fire Department. The local San Francisco Police Department, special diplomatic security personnel, and state and federal authorities were notified and began investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Consul General of the Consulate General of India in San Francisco Dr TV Nagendra Prasad were targeted in a poster allegedly circulated by Sikh extremists who blamed them for the Khalistan Tiger Force killing in June. accused of playing a role. Prominent and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

According to sources, India on Monday (July 3) expressed concern over threats being received by its diplomats over posters being circulated with information about a pro-Khalistan rally to be held in Canada on July 8. Consulate General in Toronto. A similar poster announcing the date of the rally has also surfaced in San Francisco.

The rally is being org.zed in the name of Harjeet Singh Nijjar alias Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalist. terrorist who was killed in a targeted firing in Surrey, Canada on June 18. Earlier, on Thursday, top White House official Kurt Campbell had termed it as an attack on Indian. The consulate expressed its deep regret and said that the United States is taking steps to ensure that the Indian diplomatic community feels safe in the country.

Campbell, the US National Security Council coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, said, “First of all, I want to say that these are very regrettable incidents. We take the safety of diplomats living in the United States very seriously. We are in close contact with the Indian authorities, as well as with local law enforcement.” Campbell told ., “We are trying to take necessary steps to ensure that the Indian diplomatic community feels safe here. And we’ll continue that work going forward.”

Earlier, on July 4, the US State Department spokesperson had said that the US strongly condemns the vandalism and arson attempt by Khalistan supporters in San Francisco. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller tweeted on Monday (July 4) (local time), “The United States strongly condemns the alleged vandalism and attempted arson against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday. Vandalism or violence against diplomatic facilities in the United States or against foreign diplomats.” is a criminal offence.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar issued a strongly worded statement saying that India will take up the issue of Khalist.s with partner countries. Jaishankar said India has requested its partner countries including Canada, Britain and the US not to give space to the Khalist.s as it would affect their relations. This is not the first time that the San Francisco consulate has come under attack.

In March this year, several protesters chanting pro-Khalistan slogans broke temporary security barriers put up by the SF City Police and put up two so-called Khalist. flags inside the consulate premises. Two consulate personnel soon removed these flags. The US government has condemned the violent incidents during protests at Indian diplomatic facilities in the US, adding that violence, or the threat of violence, is never an acceptable form of protest and is a matter of “grave concern”.

There have been several incidents of protests by Khalistan supporters outside the Indian Embassy and San Francisco Consulate. However, no action has been taken against any individual or group so far. Extremist Sikh groups are also planning to hold rallies outside Indian missions in the US on July 8.

Rahul Dev

Cricket Jounralist at Newsdesk

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