‘Unacceptable red line’: What US ambassador said on Gurpatwant Pannun case; threats to India | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Unacceptable red line’: What US ambassador said on Gurpatwant Pannun case; threats to India

Apr 01, 2024 06:50 AM IST

Eric Garcetti said American system protects free speech “for better or for worse” while responding to threats issued by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has acknowledged that India and the United States were working together in the investigation of the alleged foiled assassination plot against Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Eric Garcetti, however, said that a "red line" should not be crossed between the two countries, news agency ANI reported.

Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. (AP/FILE)
Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. (AP/FILE)

Eric Garcetti said that the American system protects free speech “for better or for worse” while responding to questions on the Khalistani marches and the threats issued by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

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Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is an India-designated terrorist who holds American and Canadian citizenship. He has repeatedly issued threats against India.

The interview comes days after the Joe Biden administration said the United States was working with the Indian government to hold accountable those behind a plot to kill the Khalistani separatist on American soil.

Also Read | RAW operative shunted out over Gurpatwant Singh Pannun plot

Nikhil Gupta charged

An Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, was charged by federal prosecutors in November last year in connection with his involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun. US federal prosecutors have charged that Nikhil Gupta was working with an Indian government employee and had agreed to pay an assassin USD 1,00,000 to kill Pannun, who lives in New York City.

India has already constituted a probe committee to investigate the allegations.

“When people do step over the line saying something will be bombed as opposed to saying somebody shouldn't fly. The United States freedom of speech, we want success for anybody if there's a criminal accusation to actually reach the threshold that would have a successful outcome,” Garcetti was quoted as saying by ANI.

Also Read | Gurpatwant Pannun 'murder' plot: US says 'serious issue', working with India to hold those responsible

"Under our law, for an American citizen to be convicted in an American court or to be deported to have a criminal case in another country, it has to meet our law, and so we'll continue working. And if anybody ever says something that steps over that line, and I know it's gotten very close, we will be working together on that," he added.

Pannun threatened Air India

Last year, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun threatened that Air India would not be allowed to operate on November 19. Following this, he also threatened an attack on the Indian Parliament on the anniversary of the Parliament attack on December 13.

The envoy, however, also emphasised that a “red line” should not be crossed and no government employee of any country can be involved in an assassination plot of a foreign citizen.

Also Read | Amid Pannun case, India and US to hold security talks this week: Report

“I think that's absolutely critical. For any of us, just abstractly, that has to be a red line. No government or government employee can be involved in the alleged assassination of one of your own citizens. That's just an unacceptable red line,” Garcetti said.

"Any country, having an active member of their government involved in a second country trying to assassinate one of their citizens. That's, I think, usually a red line for any country. That's a basic issue of sovereignty. That's a basic issue of rights," Garcetti further said in the interview.

When asked about the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco last year, the US ambassador said tremendous resources and huge hours have been devoted to the investigation of the attack. He also affirmed hope that a positive resolution will be reached.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco was attacked on March 19 by a group of assailants. Some attackers attempted to set the Consulate building on fire by sprinkling inflammable substances early in the morning. Subsequently, on July 2, at midnight, a few people attempted to set the Consulate building on fire.

(With inputs from agencies)

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