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Heirs of Terror?: Indian Consulate in San Francisco Vandalized, Set on Fire Second Time This Year

Heirs of Terror?: Indian Consulate in San Francisco Vandalized, Set on Fire Second Time This Year

  • The State Department, lawmakers and Sikh and Indian American groups condemned the violent protests.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco was vandalized and set on fire early on Sunday morning by what news reports are calling “pro-Khalistan protesters.” A video posted on Twitter allegedly by the protestors themselves, and shared widely by news agencies and users, shows the building on fire, and the words “violence begets violence.”

Confirming the news of the July 2 arson, ANI reported that “there was no major damage nor any injuries.” Police are investigating the incident. 

The United States condemned the vandalism. U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller tweeted that the U.S. strongly condemned the reported vandalism and attempted arson. “Vandalism or violence against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats in the U.S. is a criminal offense,” Miller said. He however did not mention the Sikh protesters. 

This is the second time in the last five months that the premises has been attacked. On March 19, Sikh separatists reportedly broke several windows. A few embassy workers were injured in the attack. Passing the makeshift security barriers raised by San Francisco police, the protesters reportedly installed two Khalistani flags inside the consulate premises. 

Similar protests were held in London and Canberra, Australia. They came a day after Punjab police launched a manhunt to capture Amritpal Singh, a 30-year-old separatist leader who supports the Khalistan movement, and leads a group called Waris Punjab De, or the “heirs of Punjab.” His supporters staged protests in Punjab over the weekend and 112 were arrested, the Press Trust of India reported. 

Several lawmakers and Indian American groups issued statements condemning the attack. Saratoga council member Rishi Kumar wrote that he is “deeply disturbed” by the attack. “This violent and vandalistic behavior —-allegedly by Khalistanis —  is utterly unacceptable.”

“This attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco is vile and unacceptable,” tweeted Rep Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) “Americans stand by our allies and our patriotic Indian-American community.”

Several Sikh American organizations as well as the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and CoHNA (Coalition of Hindus of North America condemned the attacks. WhileCoHNA demanded state and federal authorities “to step up and ensure basic safety plus law and order against Khalistan terror,” the HAF called on “Canadian and U.S. intelligence agencies to coordinate security for diasporic Indians and Indian diplomatic posts.”

In a statement, the American Sikh Caucus Committee, American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) and Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast strongly condemned the vandalism and attempted arson. “The perpetrators must be held accountable and brought to justice,” they wrote. They urged that “local and state law enforcement agencies should work with FBI as this incident has cross border implications and is unfairly maligning the Sikh community.”

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa issued a statement against the attack, as did the Indian Youth Congress. 

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