Many injured as Hindu and Sikh diaspora clash in Australia



A scuffle broke out between the Indian diaspora and members of Sikh community in Australia during a referendum called by the banned Sikhs For Justice for the creation of an independent state.

The brief fracas broke out at 4.30 pm on Sunday after a group of pro-India supporters waving national flags arrived at the voting site in Federation Square, Melbourne. The clash left many people injured.

The Victoria Police, which used pepper spray to quell the protests, said two men, aged 34 and 39, were arrested and issued a penalty notice for their riotous behaviour.

In several videos posted on Twitter, Sikh Khalistan supporters were seen attacking Indians with sticks in broad daylight. They were also seen snatching and damaging the Indian flag.

Reacting to the videos, BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted: “I strongly condemn anti-India activities by pro Khalistani in Australia. Anti-social elements that are trying to disrupt the peace & harmony of the country with these activities, must be dealt with strongly and culprits must be brought to books.”

Two men were injured at the demonstration — one with a head laceration and the other with a hand injury — and police are continuing to investigate the injuries.

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 came despite the Indian community in Australia informing the police about the planned protest at the Federation Square in Melbourne.

In the month of January alone, Khalistan supporters attacked three Hindu Temples in Melbourne with anti-India graffiti.

Strongly condemning the incidents, India asked Australia to bring perpetrators to the book and ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future.

On Republic Day, the Indian High Commission in Canberra issued a statement asking the Australian government to ensure the safety and security of Indians with referendums being planned in Melbourne and Sydney.—INP