By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], March 23 (ANI): More than 200 protesters waving Khalistan flags descended upon the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Wednesday for a planned demonstration amid a heightened security presence of the San Francisco Police Department (SFDP).
Unlike the violent disorder on Sunday when the Consulate came under attack, the protesters were heavily barricaded across the road with uniformed SFPD officers standing guard and patrolling the area.
The protesters included turbaned men of all ages who chanted pro-Khalistan slogans. They came in from different parts of the Bay area.
The organisers used mikes to make anti-India speeches both in English and Punjabi language and attack the Punjab Police for alleged human rights violations.
When ANI tried to talk to one of the protestors, he made allegations of Indian media bias for calling them fringe elements and backed by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.
“There have been flyers circulating on social media and it’s the youth that’s at the forefront of protests like these,” a pro-Khalistan youth told ANI.
The Indian Consulate in San Francisco has been working with enforcement agencies to secure its premises and the diplomats working at the mission.
“Thank you @SFPDChief for the assurances. Met Chief Scott to discuss the attack on @CGISFO Chancery building on March 19 and request to raise the level of protection to the Consulate premises and personnel,” Consul General of India at San Francisco Ambassador Nagendra Prasad tweeted on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said vandalism at Indian Consulate in San Francisco is “absolutely unacceptable” and is condemned by the US.
“We certainly condemn that vandalism, it’s absolutely unacceptable. State Department’s diplomatic security service is working with local authorities to properly investigate. The state Department will work on infrastructure perspective to repair the damage,” Kirby said.
US State Department spokesperson told ANI: “The United States condemns the attack against the Indian Consulate and any attack against diplomatic facilities within the United States. We pledge to defend the safety and security of these facilities as well as the diplomats who work within them.”
Khalistan supporters have started creating chaos across the world. After vandalism in London, Khalistan supporters allegedly attacked Indian Consulate in San Francisco (SFO). Videos of supporters breaking the doors and barging into the office surfaced on social media.
Visuals shared online show a huge mob brandishing Khalistan flags mounted on wooden poles, using them to smash glass doors and windows of the consulate building. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans as they broke through makeshift security barriers raised by the city police and installed two Khalistani flags inside the premises.
In a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi on Monday, India conveyed its strong protest at the vandalisation 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,” read the Ministry of External Affairs press release. (ANI)