The Indian embassy in Washington reacted violently to a physical attack suffered by a journalist from the Press Trust of India while covering a demonstration by supporters of a weakened separatist movement in the northern Indian state of Punjab.
“We have seen disturbing images of a senior Indian journalist from the Press Trust of India being abused, threatened and physically assaulted while covering the so-called ‘Khalistan protest’ in Washington DC. We understand that the journalist was first verbally intimidated, then physically assaulted and, fearing for his personal safety and well-being, had to call law enforcement agencies, who responded promptly,” the Embassy of India in Washington said in an official statement.
“We condemn such a serious and unjustified attack on a senior journalist. Such activities only underscore the violent and anti-social tendencies of the so-called ‘Khalistan protesters’ and their supporters, who routinely engage in wanton violence and vandalism,” she added.
The journalist who was attacked was covering a pro-Khalistan protest outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC on Saturday afternoon.
However, US intelligence quickly moved into action, protecting the journalist while he let him do his job.
The journalist was hit in the left ear with two sticks by pro-Khalistan supporters.
He also shared a video of the Khalistani supporters on his Twitter handle.
“Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2 day 4 for helping me get my job done otherwise I would have written this from the hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks and earlier I had to call 9/11 and crashed 2 police vans 4 security fearing physical attacks,” the journalist tweeted on Sunday.
The journalist reportedly decided not to take any action against those who abused him.
“Pro-Khalistan protesters in support of Amrit Pal waved Khalistan flags and rushed at the embassy in the presence of US intelligence. They even openly threatened to destroy the embassy and threatened the Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu,” the abused journalist said, as quoted by ANI news agency.
The protesters included turbaned men of all ages raising pro-Khalistan slogans. They came from different parts of the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area.
Organizers used microphones to deliver anti-India speeches in both English and Punjabi, targeting Punjab police over alleged human rights abuses.
Several protests by supporters of Khalistan were staged in front of the Indian Embassy and Consulate in San Francisco. Earlier this week, on March 20, the Indian consulate in San Francisco was also attacked.
SEE ALSO | Pro-Khalistan protest outside the Indian High Commission in London
Images shared online show a huge mob waving wooden pole-mounted Khalistan flags and using them to smash glass doors and windows of the consulate building.
They raised pro-Khalistan slogans as they breached makeshift security barriers set up by the city police and installed two Khalistani flags at the site.
The United States has condemned the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco and any attack on US diplomatic facilities. The US has pledged to defend the security of these facilities and the diplomats who work there.
“The United States condemns the attack on the Indian consulate and any attack on diplomatic facilities within the United States. We are committed to defending the security of these facilities, as well as the diplomats who work there,” the US State Department spokesman told ANI.
(With contributions from agencies)
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