Pro-Khalistan activists partially damaged the Indian consulate in San Francisco in an arson attack early Sunday, captured in a video that showed part of the building engulfed in flames.
The US state department condemned the attack – the second on the consulate by the activists since March – after the Indian embassy reportedly took up the matter with authorities in Washington.
The video posted on Twitter by
supporters referenced the recent murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted terrorist, in Canada.
Diya TV, a South Asian broadcast network, reported that the fire was quickly put out, resulting in limited damage and no injuries to the staff.
US diaspora calls for swift action
The Indian community in the US has expressed concern over the arson at the Indian consulate in San Francisco and called for a swift investigation and a strong response from authorities to prevent further attacks. Sukhi Chahal, a rights activist and chairman of Punjab Foundation based in the US, called the arson a deliberate and malicious act that should not be overlooked. He emphasised the need to bring the perpetrators to justice and hold them accountable for their actions.
, a councilman from Norwich City, Connecticut, blamed India for defaming Sikhs and their struggle in the US. However, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller condemned the vandalism and violence against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats. Similar cases have occurred outside Indian diplomatic missions in Britain and Canada in recent months, indicating a resurgence of demand for Khalistan among some Sikh separatist groups.
supporters had in March broken into the same San Francisco consulate premises, shouted slogans, and installed Khalistani flags, which were later removed by consulate personnel.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar had stated Monday that India has urged partner countries such as Canada, the UK, and the US not to give space to “extremist Khalistani ideology”, as it is detrimental to relations. He promised to raise the issue of Khalistani posters in Canada with the Canadian government. Indian World Forum president Puneet Singh Chandok criticised the failure of various countries to curb the promotion of separatism against India on their soil.
Back home in India, Congress condemned Tuesday the attack on the consulate and asked the Centre to work with host governments to take necessary steps to protect India’s diplomatic missions. The government should ensure the perpetrators of such attacks are brought to justice, said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. BJP’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa also denounced the attack. “They are the enemies of India and the Sikhs….I appeal to the Sikhs living abroad to identify such people and strict action must be taken against them,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI & Reuters)
US condemns vandalism, attempted arson, terms it a ‘criminal offence’
India’s consulate in San Francisco came under an attack from Khalistan supporters who tried to set the diplomatic facility on fire in the second such act of violence within months, drawing strong condemnation from the US government which termed it a “criminal offence”. A video by Khalistan supporters, dated July 2 posted on Twitter, showed the act of arson at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.