‘Probe, punish them’: India tells Australia on attacks by pro-Khalistan groups
India has already lodged a protest over attacks by Khalistani activists on people of Indian origin who were protesting against a so-called “Khalistan referendum”
NEW DELHI: India on Thursday condemned recent attacks by pro-Khalistan elements against people of Indian origin in Australia, saying Australian authorities had been requested to ensure the safety and security of the Indian community.
India has already lodged a protest with Australian authorities over attacks by Khalistani activists on people of Indian origin who were protesting against a so-called “Khalistan referendum” organised by the outlawed Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) in Melbourne over the weekend.
“We strongly condemn such attacks by extremist elements and we urge local authorities to investigate and punish the perpetrators. We have been repeatedly taking up with the Australian authorities our concerns about actions by such elements, including those that are proscribed terrorist organisations,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly media briefing.
“We conveyed our firm rejection of the so-called Khalistan referendum and politically motivated exercises by extremist elements,” he said.
India has requested Australia to “ensure the safety and security of members of the Indian community and their properties” and to not allow the use of Australian territory for “activities that would be detrimental to the territorial integrity, security and national interests of India”, Bagchi said in response to questions.
Bagchi said the Indian side has noted comments by some Australian leaders condemning the violence in Melbourne and will continue to take up this issue with Australian authorities.
Indian high commissioner Manpreet Vohra took up Sunday’s violent incidents in central Melbourne with the premier of Victoria state, Daniel Andrews, at a meeting on Monday. In New Delhi, Australian envoy Barry O’Farrell said he was “appalled” by the incidents and that Victoria police are investigating a number of people for “criminal acts of violence”.
Bagchi also said India had also denounced the desecration of Gauri Shankar Mandir in the town of Brampton in the Greater Toronto Area of Canada on Monday.
“In Canada, you would have seen comments by the Canadian foreign minister denouncing the vandalism. We reaffirm this position strongly and we condemn such acts of vandalisation,” he said.
Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly said in a tweet on Wednesday: “Everyone should be able to practice their faith in peace, free from violence and intimidation. I stand with Hindu communities in denouncing the vandalism at Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton. We have a collective responsibility to denounce hateful acts, which have no place in [Canada].”