Mob Attacks SF Consulate; In NY, Sikhs Show Up In Support Of Amritpal Singh Wanted By Indian Police
Photo: Hundreds of Sikhs came to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco bearing Khalistani flags.
India-West News Desk
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Even as the brouhaha over the incident of the tricolor being pulled down at the Indian High Commission building in London had barely died down, a mob attacked the Indian consulate in San Francisco. In New York, a group gathered to vociferously protest in front of the Indian Consulate and ostensibly to show solidarity with Amritpal Singh.
The latter is being sought by the Punjab police for his separatist talk. The situation remains tense in the state with more than 100 of his supporters having been detained and authorities cutting off internet across the state as they search for the man who has been on the run. Pro Khalistan Twitter accounts have also been blocked in India, including some Canadian government officials.
The separatist preacher, who has evoked and invoked memories of a deeply hurtful and divisive time of insurgency in the 1980s has managed to evade police so far.
It would seem, the large group of Sikhs which gathered at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, were in sympathy with him. With loud Punjabi music playing in the background, videos on social media show thugs attacking the Indian consulate, spray-painting graffiti on its outer wall, saying “Free Amritpal.”
Several videos were posted of the attack. Apparently filmed by the participants or those in sympathy with their cause, it shows men breaking glass doors and windows of the consulate building with butts of poles that had Khalistani flags.
What caught the attention of Twitterati was while employees of the consulate were seen removing the flags in the videos, the mob breaking through the barricade from behind which they had been shouting slogans. Fearful employees can be seen running inside the building with the protestors trying to follow them.
Videos further showed that after doors of the consulate were slammed shut on their faces, the protestors banged on the walls and doors with flags, while one of them smashed the windows of the building with a sword.
At deadline time, there was no word from the police in San Francisco.
India has lodged a strong protest with the US over the incident and asked for appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. “The US Government was reminded of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation. It was asked to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents,” the government said in a statement.
The Indian Embassy in Washington was also in touch with the US State Department.
Sikhs condemn attack
It was not like the actions drew the support of all Sikhs. In Delhi, a gathering of Sikhs staged a protest against the “disrespectful act of Khalistan supporters towards the Indian flag,” at the High Commission of India in London.
Eminent Sikh-American Jassee Singh from the Sikhs of America told PTI, “Everybody has the right to demonstrate in the United States. Same groups have been protesting in the past for many years. …But what we saw on Sunday in San Francisco was really, really shameful. We really condemn it.”
“There are more than a million Sikhs living in North America now. But there are only a handful of people who want a separate nation. Yes, they have a right to ask for that. In this country, everybody has a right to their thinking, but I want to assure you that the majority of Sikhs….. would not support any kind of a movement that would disrupt the peace of Punjab in India,” he said.
Ajay Bhutoria who is on President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans tweeted, “I strongly condemn recent attack by Khalistan supporters on the consulate of India in SF. This act of violence is an attack on the peace and harmony of our community. I express my heartfelt solidarity with India, and I stand with them.” He added, “I also call on all members of our community to unite and promote peace and harmony. Let us work together towards a world where all communities can live in peace and mutual respect. We must not let such incidents divide us or sow the seeds of hatred.