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The Indian Consulate in San Francisco was recently rocked by acts of intense vandalism by pro-Khalistan separatists.

Videos circulating on social media showed an agitated mob, carrying the black-on-white flag of the Khalistan movement and violently attacking the building with rods, swords, and flag poles. On not being able to enter the premises, they struck at the consulate’s doors and smashed windows. They smeared its façade by spray-painting a huge piece of graffiti that read: “Free Amritpal.”

Ashok Swain, professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, shared a video of the building under attack. Two of the protesters also poured flammable material at the entrance, but for some reason, it did not ignite, the Indian media agency, Press Trust of India, reported.

The incident happened on the afternoon of March 19, hours after a crowd of similar protesters converged at the Indian High Commission in London, chanting slogans and carrying the Khalistan flag.

Videos posted on social media showed one of the protesters climbing onto the balcony of the stately building and pulling down the tricolor in an attempt to replace it with the flag of the separatist movement. A person is seen stepping out from the door of the Indian High Commission and tackling the protester.

Three days later, on March 22, some 2,000 protestors converged for a planned demonstration. Although this demonstration did not turn violent, the protesters still engaged in disorderly behavior, reported P.T.I., by hurling objects at the building from behind a barricade and shouting abuses at Indian officials. The Indian High Commission responded by hanging an enormous Indian flag across its façade as well as hanging an even bigger one along the entire parapet of the building, as this video posted by P.T.I. shows.

These protests came in the wake of an announcement by the Indian government that it was launching a manhunt to capture Amritpal Singh, a separatist leader and a preacher, who had been on the run for weeks after evading arrest in Punjab, on March 18, the BBC reported.

In a recent phone conversation, Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, met with his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak, to voice his concern over the recent incidents,  Reuters reported.

Mr. Modi called for “strong action against anti-India elements” by the British government following, his office said in a statement. In a statement, the office of the British prime minister stressed that “extremism had no place in the U.K.” and that it was taking steps to ensure the safety and security of the workers at the Indian High Commission.

On May 8, Robert Rueca, Public Information Officer, San Francisco Police Department responded to India Currents’ request for an update on the incident.

On 3/19/23 at approximately 3:40 pm officers responded to a protest on the 500 block of Arguello Blvd. for crowd control. Officers arrived on scene and observed shattered glass windows on a building which is used as a foreign consulate. Officers spoke with workers from the building who stated that unknown subjects made contact with them as they attempted to enter the building. During the protest workers were attacked and sustained injuries. The suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction. No arrests have been made at this time. Graffiti was also reported on the building earlier that day.

We do not have any updates on the open investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. 

India Currents’ Stop The Hate campaign is made possible with funding from the California State Library (CSL) in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by India Currents do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government.

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Alakananda Mookerjee lives in Brooklyn, and is a Francophile.