New Delhi, Feb 2 – Strongly denouncing the recent acts of violence against its diaspora, India on Thursday asked Australia to ensure that its territory is not used for activities detrimental to India’s territorial integrity, security and national interest.
“We have requested Australia to ensure the safety and security of the members of the Indian community and their properties, and to not allow the use of Australian territory for activities that will be detrimental to India’s territorial integrity, security, and national interest,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs.
Bagchi was responding to the recent attack on Indians by Khalistan supporters in Australia during a referendum called by the banned ‘Sikhs For Justice’ for the creation of an independent Sikh state.
In several videos shared on social media, Khalistan supporters could be seen attacking Indians with sticks in broad daylight. They were also seen snatching and damaging the tricolour.
“We strongly condemn such attacks by extremist elements and we urge the local authorities to investigate and punish the perpetrators. We have been repeatedly taking up with Australian authorities our concerns about actions by such elements, including those that are proscribed terrorist organisations,” Bagchi said during the weekly briefing.
He added that India has firmly conveyed that it rejects the so-called Khalistan referendum and the politically-motivated exercises by extremist elements.
The Khalistan Referendum campaign is being run across the world by pro-Khalistan ‘Sikhs For Justice’, calling for a new state that would take in the Punjab regions of northern India.
The attack, which left five people injured, came despite the Indian community in Australia informing the police about the planned protest at the Federation Square in Melbourne, The Australia Today reported.
In January alone, Khalistan supporters have attacked three Hindu temples in Melbourne with anti-India graffiti.
On being asked about the recent act of vandalism in Canada, Bagchi mentioned Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly’s stance and said that India “reaffirms the position strongly and condemns acts of vandalisation”.
“I stand with the Hindu communities in denouncing the vandalism at Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton,” Joly had said, adding, “We have a collective responsibility to denounce hateful acts”, which have no place in Canada.