‘Appalled’: Australian envoy on attack by Khalistan elements on pro-India groups | Latest News India

‘Appalled’: Australian envoy on attack by Khalistan elements on pro-India groups | Latest News India

NEW DELHI: India filed a protest with Australian authorities on Monday over attacks on people of Indian descent by Khalistani activists who had been protesting over the weekend a so-called “Khalistan referendum” organized by the outlawed Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). would.

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Indian High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra took up the violent incidents in central Melbourne on Sunday with Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews at a meeting on Monday. In New Delhi, Australia’s High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell said he was “appalled” by the incidents and that Victoria Police are investigating a number of people for “criminal violence”.

A scuffle erupted between Khalistan activists and pro-Indian groups in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Sunday afternoon amid the non-binding referendum to create an “independent Khalistan” already denounced by India. SFJ organized the referendum in Australia after similar polls in Canada, the US and the UK.

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Police used pepper spray to separate the two groups and a Victoria Police spokesman said two men had been arrested. Two men were slightly injured in the scuffle, the spokesman said. Footage on social media showed Khalistani activists attacking people holding flagpoles waving the Indian flag.

Vohra tweeted that he had met Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and on Sunday spoke about “the violence in Melbourne” and “how to stop Khalistani extremist groups from engaging in further activities promoting peace and prosperity.” are detrimental to harmony”. He said he also spoke about “our strong and growing bilateral relationship.”

There was no official word from the Foreign Office on the events, although people familiar with the matter said there were protests on the Australian side.

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Referring to the incidents, Australian Envoy O’Farrell said: “Like the Prime Minister of Victoria, I am appalled by what happened in Melbourne’s Federation Square. The state police were on site and reacted quickly and investigated several people for criminal acts of violence they had committed.”

O’Farrell said Australia is a country where “the right to protest and demonstrate is respected, but once it becomes violent it is unacceptable”.

He added: “I am disappointed by the actions of a few which, for the first time, have damaged the excellent reputation of the Indian diaspora, which has only brought productivity, light, understanding and close ties between Australia and India.”

The “unofficial survey” is part of a “private activity that has no legal basis,” and such an “unclear survey in any country cannot affect anything in that country or in a sovereign nation like India,” O’Farrell said.

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“But what bothers me is that I’m proud to say I come from a country that is one of the most successful multicultural, multireligious countries in the world, where there is little communal violence, where communal violence, hate speech, bigotry is despised and despised. And yet, regrettably, yesterday we saw attacks by Australians of Indian descent on people who were simply speaking their own minds. As others have said, the right to protest then becomes unacceptable,” he said.

Vohra also visited the ISKCON Krishna Temple and BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne and discussed the “concerns of the peaceful community over the recent attacks by vandals and the disturbing violence” in Melbourne, he said in tweets. He said the ISKCON Krishna Temple was “recently vandalized by pro-Khalistan elements” whose “hateful graffiti threatened the peaceful Indo-Australian community in Melbourne and must be stopped.”

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The Indian High Commission in Canberra recently condemned the demolitions of three Melbourne temples as incidents aimed at sowing hatred and division within the Indo-Australian community.

“Signals that pro-Khalistan elements are intensifying their activities in Australia, actively backed and abetted by members of proscribed terrorist organizations such as the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and other hostile organizations from outside Australia, have been apparent for some time,” the said Mission in a Jan. 26 statement. The Indian side also expressed concern about the SFJ’s efforts to organize the referendum in Melbourne and Sydney, the statement added.


Rezaul H. Laskar is the foreign affairs editor of the Hindustan Times. His interests include movies and music.

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