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No place for violence, vandalism: Australian minister after pro-Khalistanis attack Indians in Melbourne

In the wake of the attack on unarmed Indians by pro-Khalistani forces in Melbourne, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said there was no room for violence in the country.

(News Agency) Australia’s deputy foreign minister said he was “appalled” by the clash between alleged pro-Khalistanis and unarmed Indians in Melbourne on Sunday that left at least five injured. Issuing a strong statement, Australian MP and Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said there was no room for violence in the land Down Under. He also mentioned that a police investigation into the incident is underway. “I was appalled to see the violence at Fed Square in Melbourne on the weekend. People have the right to engage in peaceful protest in Australia, but there is no place for the violence or vandalism we’ve seen recently. Pleased @VictoriaPolice responded quickly & are investigating,” Watts tweeted.
Echoing the sentiment, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell said in a tweet, “Saddened by these scenes so soon after Australia and India celebrate diversity and unity on their respective national days. Our commitment to peaceful protest does not extend to violence,” Australian High Commissioner to India.”
According to a report by Australia Today, men from alleged pro-Khalistani groups attacked a group of Indians carrying the Tricolour at Federation Square in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, on Sunday afternoon.
The Indians had arrived at the scene to protest against an unofficial referendum on the creation of an independent state for Sikhs organised by the US-based secessionist group Sikhs For Justice, The Age reported.Videos shared on social media showed a group of men waving the Khalistani flag and attacking Indians carrying the Tricolour. The pro-Khalistani forces were also seen carrying rods and chasing the Indian protesters.
Sharing one such purported video of the fracas, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa condemned the “anti-India activities” by pro-Khalistanis in Australia.The incident capped simmering tensions within the Indian diaspora following a string of attacks on Hindu temples in Australia. As many as three temples were vandalized and defaced with anti-India and pro-Khalistani graffiti in Victoria province in the past month.
The Indian High Commission in Canberra had called these attacks blatant attempts to promote animosity and discord among the Indian community.
On Monday, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Manpreet Vohra visited the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs which was desecrated by alleged Khalistan supporters on the eve of Pongal.
The Indian envoy called the temple “a place of worship that has always been revered by all communities and faiths,” and condemned its “vandalization” by “pro-Khalistani elements”.
Vohra also offered prayers at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple and Iskcon Krishna Temple in Melbourne, two of the three sites where anti-India graffiti was daubed on the walls, allegedly by Khalistan supporters, earlier this month. He also met Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria province, of which Melbourne is the capital.