Several lawmakers in the United States condemned the attempted arson and violent rhetoric aimed at Indian diplomats, including the Ambassador of India to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. US Congressmen Shri Thanedar, Rich McCormick and Brian Fitzpatrick, from Michigan 13th district, Georgia's 6th Congressional district and Pennsylnania's 1st Congressional district respectively, took to Twitter to register their outrage at attempts by pro-Khalistani elements to "instil terror".
Eric Garcetti, US Ambassador to India, also commented on the recent attack on the Indian consulate in US and how the US administration prepares to handle it. "We take very seriously our obligations to protect our fellow diplomats under the Vienna Convention. The lives of Americans and Indians and those people that do this critical work cannot be attacked, or threatened, cannot see fire bombs or acts of arson in the places where they go and work. We will do everything we can under the law in the United States to protect them....We are very serious about the situation," he said.
A group of Khalistan radicals, on July 2, tried to set the Indian consulate in San Francisco on fire. US Congressman Shri Thanedar criticised the incident in a strong-worded tweet. "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attacks at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Violence and attempts to instil terror are unacceptable in democracy," tweeted Thanedar.
McCormick termed the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco as 'unacceptable'. He tweeted, "This attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco is vile and unacceptable. Americans stand by our allies and our patriotic Indian-American community." Rep Fitzpatrick called for appropriate legal action against those involved in the incident.
Taking to his official Twitter handle, he wrote, "This kind of violence is lawless and unacceptable. I firmly condemn the repeated hateful attacks on the Indian Consulate and look forward to those involved being held accountable with appropriate legal action." The attempted arson attack on the Indian Consulate by pro-Khalistanis and their ensuing rally on July 8 was also condemned by the co-chairs of India Caucus, saying free speech is not a license to provoke violence.
Co-chairs of the India Caucus Press Release
Co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India, Ro Khanna and Michael Waltz, in a press release, said, "As the co-chairs of the India Caucus, we strongly condemn the attempted arson and vandalism at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco and the posters circulating on social media with violent rhetoric aimed at Indian diplomats, including Ambassador Sandhu." They also appealed to the US State Department to investigate the damage and take necessary action.
"We support the right to free speech and freedom of expression for every American, but that is not a license to vandalize property or incite violence. Violence against diplomatic facilities is a criminal offence and will not be tolerated. We urge the State Department to coordinate with law enforcement in their investigation of the damage at the Indian Consulate expeditiously and hold those involved accountable," the release added.
Earlier, on July 2, around 1.40 am (local time), a group of Khalistan radicals made an attempt to set the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on fire, sources told ANI. A video of the incident was verified by sources who told ANI the fire was suppressed quickly by the San Francisco Fire Department. The Local San Francisco police department, special diplomatic security personnel, and state and federal authorities were notified and began investigating the incident.
Indian Ambassadors targetted in a poster
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Dr TV Nagendra Prasad, Consul General, Consulate General of India, San Francisco, were targeted in a poster purportedly circulated by Sikh extremists, who accused them of playing a role in the June killing of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. According to sources, India on Monday (July 3) raised concerns over threats to its diplomats in posters being circulated in Canada with information on a pro-Khalistan rally to be held on July 8. The posters contained threats to the Indian ambassador to Canada and the consulate general in Toronto.
Khalistani supporters in US and attack on San Francisco consulate
A similar poster announcing the rally date also came to the fore in San Francisco. The rally is being held in the name of Harjit Singh Nijjar aka Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani terrorist who was killed in a targeted shooting in Canada's Surrey on June 18.
This is not the first time that the San Francisco consulate has come under attack. Multiple incidents of protests by Khalistan supporters have been staged outside the Indian embassy and the San Francisco Consulate. However, no action against any person or group has been taken as yet. The extremist Sikh groups are also planning to rally outside the Indian missions in the US on July 8.