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Washington-based Indian journalist Lalit Jha was physically attacked and verbally abused by pro-Khalistan supporters in Washington while he was covering a pro-Khalistan protest outside the Indian Embassy on Saturday afternoon. He shared a video of the Khalistani supporters on his official Twitter handle.

Explaining the attack, Journalist Lalit Jha said that he was hit on his left ear with two sticks by pro-Khalistan supporters. He also thanked US Secret Service for protecting and helping him do his job.

"Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day 4 helping do my job, otherwise I would have been writing this from the hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 9/11 & rushed 2 police van 4 safety fearing physical assault," Jha tweeted.

Take a look at the video below,

Speaking to ANI about the physical attack on him, Lalit Jha said, “At one point I felt so threatened that I called 911. I then spotted Secret Service officers and narrated the incident to them."

"The pro-Khalistan protestors in support of Amrit Pal waved Khalistan flags and descended upon the embassy in the presence of the US Secret Service. They even openly threatened to vandalize the embassy and threatened the Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu," the Journalist added.

However, Jha decided to take no action against those who heckled him.

Congressman Ro Khanna condemned the violence against Lalit Jha and said that the attack is outrageous and an assault on journalism.

“This violence against @lalitkjha is outrageous and an assault on journalism. I condemn it in the strongest terms. Lalit is one of the fairest and most thoughtful journalists. Thank you to our security for protecting Lalit and the diplomats and consulate," Ro Khanna tweeted.

The Indian embassy in Washington DC also responded to the physical attack on Lalit Jha and said, “We have seen disturbing visuals of a senior Indian journalist from Press Trust of India being abused, threatened and assaulted physically while covering so-called ‘Khalistan protest’ in Washington DC."

“We understand that the journalist was first verbally intimidated, then physically assaulted, and fearing for his personal safety and well-being, had to call in law enforcement agencies, who responded promptly," the statement further read.

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. The organizers used mics to make anti-India speeches in English and Punjabi and targeted the Punjab Police for alleged human rights violations.

Multiple events 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.

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. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans as they broke through makeshift security barriers presented by the city police and installed two Khalistani flags inside the premises.

The United States strongly condemned the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco by a group of separatist Sikhs, terming it absolutely unacceptable.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 26 Mar 2023, 08:45 AM IST
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