Indian American leaders express anger at Khalistan-linked attack, San Francisco consulate calls for protection

Dr TV Nagendra Prasad, consul general of India at San Francisco

Ritu Jha-

Over 200 Khalistan supporters protesting against the Indian police crackdown on Punjab-based separatist Amritpal Singh, attacked the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Sunday, March 19 injuring two consulate staff members.

As videos of Khalistan supporters breaking the doors and barging into the office went viral on social media, Indian Americans and Indian diplomats sharply criticized the incident and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs lodged a strong protest and asked for security to be beefed up at the consulate.

San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Allison Maxie told indica that on March 19, at proximately 3:40 pm officers responded to a protest on the 500 block of Arguello Blvd. for crowd control.

“Officers arrived on scene and observed shattered glass windows on a building which is used as a foreign consulate. They spoke with workers from the building who stated that unknown subjects made contact with them as they attempted to enter the building. During the protest, workers were attacked and sustained injuries. The suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction. No arrests have been made at this time. Graffiti was also reported on the building earlier that day,” said the San Francisco Police Department.

“We are not able to provide anything further at this time as it is an open/ active investigation,” officer Maxie said.

However, the police have asked people with information on the incident to contact SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad, the Consul General of India in San Francisco, told indica that the glass panes on the main doors of the Consul General were broken by some of the protestors who turned violent.

“There were 200 protesters. We requested formally for protection and for the police to take action. Two staff members received injuries when the protesters broke the glass panes of the doors. We have been coordinating with the mayor’s office, state department, and SFPD,” said consul general Prasad.

Meanwhile, a petition “Free Amritpal Singh” at calls him innocent and states “Our Goal is to find whereabouts of Amritpal Singh who Punjab Police have detained but stating they are unaware of his location.”

The San Francisco attack is linked to the manhunt for Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh in Punjab. Graffiti has been painted with the words #FREEAmritpal on the wall of the building housing the Consul General of India in San Francisco. Amritpal, a Khalistani leader of Punjab, has been absconding since Saturday, March 18.

After the attack on Indian Consulate in San Francisco, social media exploded with messages, photos, and video clippings. Major Surendra Poonia, a decorated Indian military officer, in his tweet said that it was unacceptable and shocking that no action was taken by the government.

“Unacceptable Khalistani miscreants attacked the Indian consulate in San Francisco after Indian officials removed Khalistani flags from consulate building,” Poonia tweeted.

In a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi, India conveyed its strong protest at the vandalization of the property of the Consulate General of India, San Francisco.

“The US Government was reminded of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation. It was asked to take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Our Embassy in Washington D.C. also conveyed our concerns to the US State Department along similar lines,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

USISPF CEO Mukesh Aghi

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) condemned the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, California.

“The United States and India are vibrant democracies and understand that the right to assemble peacefully and protest is sacrosanct. However, violence and vandalism will not be condoned or tolerated. Diplomats and consular staff deserve the same right to a secure and peaceful work environment, free from external harm and threats. We stand by Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad, the Consul General of India in San Francisco, and his staff. We urge the local authorities in California and the Congressional leadership of the district to take the necessary action against the culprits and those guilty of aiding and abetting. We thank the State Department for responding promptly,” USISPF stated.

Ajay Bhutoria

Ajay Bhutoria, members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, condemned the attack. “I strongly condemn the recent attack by pro-Khalistan supporters on the consulate of India building in San Francisco. This act of violence is not only a threat to the diplomatic relations between the United States and India but also an attack on the peace and harmony of our community.

“I express my heartfelt solidarity with the government of India, and I stand with them during this difficult time. Such heinous acts of violence have no place in our society, and we must all come together to condemn and resist them.”

MR Rangaswami, founder-chairman, Indiaspora

MR Rangaswami, founder and chairman of community organization Indiaspora, stated: “Indiaspora condemns the violence and vandalism committed today at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. We hope our friends at the consulate and our community in the Bay Area are safe and that swift action is taken by law enforcement.”

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