US-based Indian journalist Lalit Jha has alleged that he was attacked and verbally abused by Khalistani supporters while covering a pro-Khalistani protest outside the Indian Embassy in Washington.
In a tweet, Jha said the Khalistani supporters hit him on his left ear with two sticks, and he had to call 911 fearing physical assault. He thanked the US Secret Service for protecting him and helping him do his job.
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“Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day 4 helping do my job, otherwise I would have been writing this from hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 9/11 & rushed 2 police van 4 safety fearing physical assault,” Jha tweeted.
Jha shared a video in which one of the protesters is seen calling him “a dog” of the Modi government.
Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day 4 helping do my job, otherwise I would have been writing this from hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 9/11 & rushed 2 police van 4 safety fearing physical assault👇. pic.twitter.com/IVcCeP5BPG
— Lalit K Jha ललित के झा (@lalitkjha) March 25, 2023
“At one point I felt so threatened that I called 911. I then spotted Secret Service officers and narrated the incident to them,” he told ANI.
Jha, however, did not take any action against the offenders.
“The pro-Khalistan protesters in support of Amritpal waved Khalistan flags and descended upon the embassy in the presence of the US Secret Service. They even openly threatened to vandalise the embassy and threatened the Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhi,” Jha told ANI.
According to ANI, Sikh supporters of pro-Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh came from different parts of the DC-Maryland-Virginia area and assembled at the Indian embassy. They used mics to make anti-India speeches, and lambasted the Punjab police for alleged violation of human rights.
On March 20, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco was attacked and vandalized by pro-Khalistan supporters.
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The US has condemned the attack and said such an incident was completely unacceptable.
“The United States condemns the attack against the Indian Consulate and any attack against diplomatic facilities within the United States. We pledge to defend the safety and security of these facilities as well as the diplomats who work within them,” the US State Department spokesperson told ANI.