Mumbai: Vishal Jood, a Haryana youth who has been taking on Khalistanis in Australia, has been languishing in jail there for over two months now. While he has been lodged in prison on charges of damage to property, affray, and assault, Jood frequently stood up for India and challenged separatist elements making anti-India comments and shaming the Indian community because of their actions.

Now, the local Indian diaspora in Australia have come in support of Jood and started a campaign to save him and get him released from jail as early as possible. They have started collecting funds for Vishal Jood so that they can appoint a lawyer who can represent the case. Meanwhile, Vishal Jood was due to appear in court at Australia on July 1. However, the Parramatta Local Court informed that the Jood case has been adjourned until 12 August, with bail refused. 24-year-old Jood has been in police custody since April.

In an open letter to Sen Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia-based social justice advocacy group The Humanism Project has expressed concerns regarding the campaigns launched for Jood in parts of India, Australia, and most recently Canada. “Our concerns are with the narrative being spun by certain factions within the Indian diaspora in Australia, as well as from India. These individuals hold firm the belief that Jood is innocent of any crimes, and is currently being held under inhumane conditions for ‘protecting the Indian flag and identity’. These claims are being parroted across social media and are being amplified by right-wing Hindu-nationalist entities in India and in Australia,” the letter reads. According to the letter, The Humanism Project believes “a commitment to justice from the Australian government would go a long way to supporting and showing solidarity with the Sikh community, and wider Indian diaspora community of Australia.” A spokesperson from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs confirmed they were in touch with Australian authorities.

Amid reports of growing tension between members of the Sikh and Ror communities over the arrest of Kurukshetra youth Vishal Jood in Australia, Karnal deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav and SP Ganga Ram Punia held a meeting with members of both communities. The DC and the SP had apprised them that some youths are trying to create tension between both communities over the Jood issue. Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and BJP MPs from Kurukshetra and Karnal have already taken up the issue with Union minister of external affairs S. Jaishankar, seeking his intervention.

DC reportedly told them strict action will be taken if anybody is found spreading hate. Members of Ror community are holding protests in Kurukshetra and Karnal for release of Jood who went to Australia to study and was arrested on 16 April in Sydney for involvement in suspected hate crimes.