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Business News/ News / World/  Indian consulate in San Francisco set on fire by Khalistan supporters; US calls it criminal offense
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Indian consulate in San Francisco set on fire by Khalistan supporters; US calls it criminal offense

Pro-Khalistan radicals set the Indian consulate in San Francisco on fire, but the damage was limited and no staffers were injured. Indian diplomats in Canada are also facing threats ahead of a Khalistan rally. The US has condemned the vandalism and attempted arson.

The United States has “strongly condemned” the reports of pro-Khalistan supporters trying to set Indian consulate in San Francisco on firePremium
The United States has “strongly condemned” the reports of pro-Khalistan supporters trying to set Indian consulate in San Francisco on fire

The United States has “strongly condemned" the reported vandalism and attempted arson against the Indian consulate in San Francisco. This came after reports stated that pro-Khalistan supporters tried to set the Indian consulate in San Francisco on fire. 

US Department of State Spokesperson, Matthew Miller in a tweet called the report of vandalism and attempted arson a criminal offence.

In a tweet, he wrote, “The US strongly condemns the reported vandalism and attempted arson against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday. Vandalism or violence against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats in the US is a criminal offense."

Here's what happened:

A local news channel in the US named Diya TV shared a video from 2 July which showed that Khalistanis radicals set the Indian consulate in San Francisco on fire. The incident occurred on 2 July between 1:30 am and 2:30 am. Report also stated that the fire was quickly doused by the San Francisco fire department. The report further added that damage was limited and no staffers were injured.

Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Dr TV Nagendra Prasad, Consul General, Consulate General of India, San Francisco, have been targeted in a poster purportedly circulated by Sikh extremists who have accused them of playing a role in the June killing of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Harjit Singh Nijjar aka Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani terrorist who was killed in a targeted shooting in Canada's Surrey on 18 June. Nijjar was the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and was also included in the list released by the Indian government, naming 40 other designated terrorists. Last year in July 2022, NIA had also declared a reward of 10 lakh on Nijjar who was linked to a conspiracy to kill a Hindu priest in Punjab’s Jalandhar in 2021. “NIA has declared a cash reward of 10 lakh against Nijjar... Any information pertaining to the absconding accused leading to his arrest or apprehension, may be shared... the identity of the informer shall be kept secret," the NIA had said.

Speaking on fire at Indian Consulate in San Francisco, BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said, “We condemn in strong voice the attempt to set on fire the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Consulates are a ray of hope and a support centre for the people of our country living in foreign nations. These people (Khalistanis) have become the enemy of India and Sikhs. They are playing into the hands of ISI. I request the Sikhs abroad to identify these people and take strict action against them."

Meanwhile, India had also expressed concerns to the Canadian authorities about the upcoming Khalistan rally in Canada which will be held on 8 July, a report by Hindustan Times stated. Posters of the ‘freedom rally’ is being circulated on social media.

Indian authorities also has escalated of possible threat to the officials in Canada. The poster carries threats to Sanjay Kumar Verma India’s high commissioner to Ottawa and Apoorva Srivastava who is consulate general in Toronto. As per the poster, a ‘Khalistan Freedom Rally will be held on 8 July at 12.30 pm. The rally is set to start from Great Punjab Business Centre and will end at Indian Embassy at Toronto, the poster claims.

Replying on this, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India has asked its partner countries such as Canada, the UK and the US not to give space to "extremist Khalistani ideology" as it is "not good" for relations. When asked about reports of Khalistani posters in Canada naming Indian diplomats, the minister said the issue will be raised with the government of that country.

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Published: 04 Jul 2023, 07:50 AM IST
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