The United States has condemned violent incidents that have taken place during protests at Indian diplomatic facilities, US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday (local time). He asserted that violence or threat of violence is never an acceptable form of protest.
In response to a question about the Indian American community in the US living under fear from the few elements, or Khalistani elements, especially in San Francisco after the vandalization of the Indian consulate, Vedant Patel said, "We condemn the recent violent incidents that have taken place during protests at Indian diplomatic facilities in the United States."
While addressing the press briefing, he further said, "Look, we support the First Amendment rights of protesters, and we support engagement of free speech activities. However, violence or the threat of violence is never an acceptable form of protest."
Vedant Patel said that the US Department of State is committed to taking all appropriate measures to protect the safety and security of the diplomatic facilities and employees working there.
"Consistent with our Vienna Convention obligations, the Department is committed to taking all appropriate steps, including coordination with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities, to protect the safety and security of these facilities and the diplomatic individuals who work within them as well," Vedant Patel said.
The response from Vedant Patel comes after the pro-Khalistan supporters in the US threatened the Indian embassy and Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu during their protest on Saturday.
Multiple incidents of protests by supporters of Khalistan have been staged outside the Indian embassy and the San Francisco Consulate. Last week, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco was also attacked. Recently, a video surfaced on social media in which pro-Khalistani protestors gathered at the consulate in San Francisco, shouting slogans in support of Amritpal Singh and heckling staff as they abandoned the diplomatic mission.
Asked about the attack on a journalist in Washington, US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the attacks against journalists are "never acceptable." He said that the US condemns any incidents of violence against a member of the media.
"Attacks against journalists are never acceptable, and we condemn any incidents of violence against a member of the media just doing their job, and any act of violence or vandalism against a diplomatic facility as well," Vedant Patel said.
A Washington-based Indian journalist was physically attacked and verbally abused by Khalistan supporters in Washington while covering a pro-Khalistan protest outside the Indian Embassy on Saturday afternoon. The Indian embassy in the US has condemned the incident.
Condemning the incident, the Indian embassy said in a statement, "We condemn such 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."
Hundreds of Khalistan supporters gathered outside the Indian Embassy in the United States. The organisers used mics to make anti-India speeches both in English and Punjabi and targeted the Punjab Police for alleged human rights violations. (ANI)