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Don’t not allow your territory for anti-India activities: India urges Australia on attacks by pro-Khalistan groups

India said on Thursday that Australian authorities had been asked to safeguard the safety and security of the Indian community following recent attacks by pro-Khalistan elements on people of Indian ancestry. 

Indian citizens who were demonstrating against a purported “Khalistan referendum” that the banned Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) organised in Melbourne over the weekend were attacked by Khalistani activists. India has previously complained to Australian authorities about the incidents.

“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. In a tweet posted on Wednesday, Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly stated: “Everyone should be able to practise their faith in peace, devoid of violence and intimidation. I condemn the vandalism of the Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton alongside Hindu communities. We all have a duty to condemn racist acts because they have no place in [Canada].

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