Extremist, separatist forces outside India should not get space: Jaishankar on US temple vandalism

Gandhinagar: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday expressed concern over the vandalism of a Hindu temple with anti-India graffiti in the US, and said extremists and separatist forces outside India should not get such space.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the third convocation of the Rashtriya Raksha University here.

“I have seen the news. As you know, we are concerned about this. Extremists and separatist forces outside India should not get space. Our consulate has lodged a complaint with the (US) government and the police there over whatever happened, and I believe the matter is being inquired,” Jaishankar said in response to a query about the incident.

The police department in Newark, California said that approximately 8.35 am on Friday, they received a report of graffiti at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple. According to images posted on social media, the word ‘Khalistan’ was spray-painted on a signpost outside the temple along with other objectionable graffiti.

The Newark police said any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes motivated by hate or bias are considered very serious and given very high priority. The Consulate General of India in San Francisco strongly condemned the defacing of the temple.

Talking about the arrest of Nikhil Gupta in Czech Republic over accusation that he was planning to assassinate US-based pro-Khalistan activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in collaboration with an Indian official, the Union minister said the Indian embassy was provided consular access to him (by that country’s government).

“Whenever an Indian citizen is arrested, we seek consular access for their care which we have received thrice,” he said.

Over the absence of USA and Canada from the list of partner countries for the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Jaishankar said he would not put any political meaning to this.

“At the government level, it depends on who we invite…The government of Gujarat can answer (over invitation to the countries). I would not put any political meaning,” the minister said.

“My understanding is the opposite, which is that many counties are calling us to participate in Vibrant Gujarat. We ask them to talk to the government of Gujarat. We would like to support it because we would like to see maximum participants,” he said.