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Indian Consulate in San Francisco Set on Fire for the Second Time in 5 Months

For the second time in the past five months, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, California, has reportedly come under siege by supporters of Khalistan.

According to the news agency PTI, a video sent to Twitter by Khalistan supporters demonstrated that the arson occurred on July 2.

The video, which had the phrase “violence begets violence” written across it, also had news reports about the passing of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was living in Canada.

Najjar, one of India’s most wanted terrorists with a Rs 10 lakh cash bounty on his head, was killed by gunfire last month outside a gurdwara in Canada.

Meanwhile, the local fire service could extinguish the fire, and no severe casualties or losses were recorded.

 “The US strongly condemns the reported vandalism and attempted arson against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday. According to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller’s tweet on Monday in response to the incident, vandalism or violence against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats in the US is a criminal offence.

A “Khalistan Freedom Rally” will be held on July 8 and reportedly begin in Berkeley, California and end at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, according to a flyer on social media.

This is the second occasion in recent months that followers of Khalistan have attacked the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.

The Indian Consulate in San Francisco was stormed and vandalized on March 19 by a gang of pro-Khalistan demonstrators. The demonstrators demolished the temporary security barricades put up by the local police while shouting pro-Khalistan slogans and placed two ‘Khalistani flags’ inside the Consulate’s grounds. Soon after, two consular employees took down these banners.

Ajay Bhutoria, a prominent member of the Indian community, stated that the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco is deeply alarming and has to be strongly denounced.

“It is alarming to see such acts of violence targeting diplomatic missions,” he said.

“The Indian Consulate is an essential hub for providing consular services and fostering bilateral relations between India and the United States. The staff and members of the Consulate must be able to operate in a safe and secure environment, free from any threat or harm,” he added.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India had asked its partner countries such as Canada, the UK and the US not to give space to “extremist Khalistani ideology” as it is “not good” for relations.

He was reacting to allegations that Khalistani posters in Canada listed important Indian officials.

The minister said the issue would be raised with the government of that country.