By: Pramod Thomas
A timely intervention by US secret service and local police has prevented violence in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington after a group of Khalistan supporters and many of their speakers tried to incite disorder on Saturday (25).
According to reports, Khalistan supporters heralded abusive language and openly threatened Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who was not in the office.
Some of the speakers were seen inciting fellow protestors to indulge in violence and break the windows and glasses of the building across the road.
The secret service and the local police quickly brought in reinforcement and more forces were deployed and at least three police vans were placed in front of the embassy.
Five protesters quickly crossed the road and were about to break into the temporary marker of the embassy property near the pole unfurling the Tricolour before they were asked to leave.
Secret service personnel rushed to the spot and asked the protesters to go back to the designated protest area.
After the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco by pro-Khalistan protesters last week, India had registered its “strong protest” with the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi over the incident and asked the American government to take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
PTI reported that separatists brought two bundles of wooden sticks that were kept in the park that has the status of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the embassy.
Washington-based Indian journalist Lalit K Jha took to Twitter Sunday and alleged that a group of Khalistan supporters verbally abused him while he was covering a pro-Khalistan protest outside embassy.
Thanking the US secret service for ‘protecting’ and ‘helping’ him do his job, Jha, chief US correspondent for PTI, wrote, “Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day, 4 helping do my job. Otherwise, I would have been writing this from the hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 911 & rushed 2 police vans 4 safety fearing physical assault. (sic)”
“At one point I felt so threatened that I called 911 (emergency telephone number in the US). I then spotted Secret Service officers and narrated the incident to them,” Jha was quoted as saying by ANI.
“The pro-Khalistan protestors in support of Amritpal Singh waved Khalistan flags and descended upon the embassy in the presence of the US Secret Service. They even openly threatened to vandalize the embassy and threatened the Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu,”
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in the US condemned the incident and dubbed it as a “grave and unwarranted attack” on a senior journalist.
“Such activities only underscore the violent and anti-social tendencies of the so-called ‘Khalistani protestors’ and their supporters, who routinely engage in wanton violence and vandalism,” it said.
Indian-American congressman Ro Khannasaid: “This violence against @lalitkjha is outrageous and an assault on journalism. I condemn it in the strongest terms. Lalit is one of the fairest and most thoughtful journalists. Thank you to our security for protecting Lalit and the diplomats and consulate.”