Haryana CM seeks Centre’s help to free Vishal Jood from Australian jail
Vishal Jood was arrested more than two months ago on April 16 in Sydney for alleged hate speech and role in three hate crimes, including assault on members of the Sikh community.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has sought external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s intervention to secure the release of Kurukshetra youth Vishal Jood, currently lodged in an Australia prison for alleged hand in a series of hate attacks on suspected pro-Khalistan Sikhs in Sydney earlier this year.
A statement released from the CM’s office said 24-years old Jood was “innocent” and was jailed following a “conspiracy from anti-national forces” since he opposed anti-India elements for the Tricolour’s sake. The statement said that Jaishankar has in return assured the chief minister of taking steps to secure Jood’s release.
Jood, who has a visa to study in Australia, was arrested on April 16 in Sydney for alleged hate speech and role in three suspected hate crimes, including clashes between youths from Haryana and members of the Sikh community at Harris Park in Sydney in March and April this year. Several videos of the clashes at Harris Park were circulated widely on social media.
Khattar raised this issue following a week-long protests by the members of the Ror community—to which Jood belongs-- in Karnal and Kurukshetra districts. The community has been pressuring the ruling party leaders on this issue. The community members claim that Jood saved the Indian flag from a group shouting pro-Khalistan slogans, however, local media earlier this month cited the New South Wales (NSW) police as saying that Jood was arrested for three incidents, including the one on February 28, for attacks on Sikhs in which baseball bats, rods, sticks and other weapons were used.
The police had said that the group of Sikhs attacked on February 28 had earlier participated in an anti-farm laws protest in Australia.