“We recognize that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same,” the US State Department said.
The United States on Wednesday, while commenting on the farmer protests in India, said unhindered access to information, including the Internet, and peaceful protests are a hallmark of a thriving democracy. The country also backed “steps that can improve the efficiency of India’s markets”.
Responding to questions raised over farmer protests, the three central laws that have provoked the agitation and the government’s move to block Internet near the protest sites, the US state department said: “We recognize that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same. We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.”
A US Embassy spokesperson, quoting from the State Department briefing, said: “In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment.” The remarks by the state department were seen to indicate support for the farm laws pitched by the government as long overdue reforms in the agriculture sector.
The US spokesperson, on the internet restrictions near the protest sites at Delhi’s borders, said: “We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.”
The remarks came after a tweet by pop-start Rihanna, highlighting the farmers protest in India, shook up the establishment, which in turn issued a statement calling such celebrities “vested interest groups”.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, warned against the “temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments” without a “proper understanding” of the issues.
“We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” the foreign ministry said.