Indian Americans gathered outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco were seen raising slogans like "Vande Mataram" (ANI)
San Francisco: Members of the Indian-American community holding the Tricolour on Friday (local time) gathered outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to express support for India and its diplomats there following a recent attempted arson at the diplomatic facility by pro-Khalistan supporters.
Indian Americans gathered outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco were seen raising slogans like "Vande Mataram", "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Akhand Bharat Zindabad".
They were carrying banners carrying messages like "We stand with our diplomats" and "Khalistani Attack on the Consulate is an act of terrorism".
A group of pro-Khalistan supporters allegedly attempted to set fire to the Consulate on July 2. There was no major damage nor any injuries and police were carrying out an investigation into the incident.
A video of the incident was verified by sources who told ANI the fire was suppressed quickly by the San Francisco Fire Department. Calling the attack nothing less than a "terror act" an official told ANI that no major damages or staffers were harmed.
The Local San Francisco police department, special diplomatic security personnel, and state and federal authorities were notified and immediately began investigating the incident.
Following the incident, the US strongly condemned the reported vandalism and attempted arson by pro-Khalistan supporters against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.
"The US strongly condemns the reported vandalism and attempted arson against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday. Vandalism or violence against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats in the US is a criminal offense," US state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a tweet on Monday (local time).
Meanwhile, the co-chairs of the India Caucus condemned such elements, saying free speech is not a license to provoke violence. The remarks were made by the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India, Ro Khanna, and Michael Waltz.
The two US Congressmen 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. Meanwhile, Congressmen Khanna said that he knows the Ambassador of India to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and respects him.
"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.