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Pro-Khalistan Extremists Issue Death & Rape Threats Against Hindus in US

© AFP 2023 COLE BURSTONDemonstrators rally in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, in Toronto on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Demonstrators rally in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, in Toronto on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.05.2024
American nonprofit Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has told Sputnik India that it has become common for pro-Khalistan extremists to issue death and rape threats against Hindus in the US.
The Hindu-American community has been the "direct target" of rising pro-Khalistan extremism in the United States, a leading Hindu advocacy group has told Sputnik India.
Ramya Ramakrishnan, Community Outreach Director of Hindu American Foundation (HAF), has said that pro-Khalistan extremism in the US was manifesting itself in the form of vandalism of temples and other Indian symbols as well as intimidation of Indian diaspora members.
"We have seen temples across the country targeted by hateful graffiti and shattered statues of Mahatma Gandhi outside our place of worship. The Indian consulate in San Francisco has been attacked twice, the second time involving arson," the HAF activist noted.
Ramakrishnan expressed particular concern about the pro-Khalistan vandals harassing Hindu-Americans going about their everyday lives.
"Dozens of pro-Khalistan trucks with huge signs that have hateful language have been reported by several Hindu Americans. People who celebrate Hindu festivals or show solidarity to Hindu causes have been targeted," she said.
What's even more concerning is that pro-Khalistan extremists have been issuing "rape threats" against Hindu women and death threats in Punjabi language, Ramakrishnan said.
"A Hindu individual was assaulted and spat on in Taco Bell, in Fremont, California, in 2022," the HAF office-bearer highlighted.
The remarks by HAF official come against the perceived rise of pro-Khalistan sentiment in the US, fuelled by the careless attitude of the American authorities towards the activities of the anti-Indian secessionists.
In January, the US allowed pro-Khalistan groups to hold the first-ever 'Khalistan Referendum' advocating the secession of Indian state of Punjab on the American soil. Another similar vote was allowed to be held in March.
There are nearly 2.5 million Hindus in the US, comprising the largest chunk of the over 4 million-strong Indian-American community, according to official estimates.

Growing Anti-Hindu Hatred in the US

Ramakrishnan said that rising pro-Khalistan extremism was part of a broader and more concerning trend of rising 'Hinduphobia' which has been allowed to take root in the US under the Biden administration.

"The rise in Anti-Hindu rhetoric has been steadily increasing the last few years and there are several reasons for this, including mainstream media publishing opinion pieces that rely on falsified narratives and distortions of truth. This has been a big part of the rise in anti-Hindu sentiments," the HAF activist said.

She suggested that the "media bias" has been fuelled by individuals and groups amplifying fake and misleading news stories.
Ramakrishnan said that at times, the anti-Hindu lobby has been successful in influencing policy-makers, citing an example of a proposed legislation against caste discrimination in the California state parliament.
Proposed by Afghan-origin Democrat state lawmaker Aisha Wahab, the 'SB-403' bill called for banning caste discrimination in the state. The bill was cleared by the state legislature last year, but vetoed by California Governor Gavin Newsom last October amid concerns in the Hindu community that the proposed law would "stigmatise" them.
Newsom described the bill as "unnecessary", noting that laws already existed in the state to tackle discrimination based on ancestry.
"Any time an individual or group takes pride in being a Hindu and advocates for their rights, they are branded as being supporter of Hindutva or being far-right wing," Ramakrishnan stated.
She said that the HAF had been at the "forefront" of addressing growing Hinduphobia in the US through education and advocacy.
"We have provided resources to lawmakers, law enforcement, government agencies, and elected officials on what Hinduphobia is and shared examples of incidents and crimes. We have offered webinars to the community on how to report hate crimes and incidents and helped individuals and groups file reports," Ramakrishnan said.
The HAF activist noted that the group also organised its first-ever conference on growing Hinduphobia for law-enforcement and district officials in California's Bay Area.
"We have led the charge in opposing anti-Hindu legislation like SB 403 and developing relationships with our interfaith partners to jointly address hate," Ramakrishnan concluded.
Khalistan Supporters in New York (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) - Sputnik India, 1920, 04.04.2024
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