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‘Ensure Right Balance’: India Takes Dig at US Over Arrests at Palestine Protests

All democracies have to ensure the “right balance” between freedom of expression and public safety and order, India on Thursday said as US authorities arrested hundreds of people during pro-Palestine protests at major universities.

In a veiled dig at various wings of the US administration that have been critical of the human rights and political situation in India, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing that democracies are “judged by what we do at home and not what we say abroad”.

Nearly 100 people were arrested at the University of Southern California and dozens more were arrested at the University of Texas in Austin on Wednesday. More than 100 people were also arrested and four police officers were injured during a pro-Palestine protest at Emerson College in Boston on Wednesday.

The protests began last week at Columbia University and demonstrators have called for varsities and the US administration to cut ties with Israeli educational institutions and to stop supplying weapons to the Israeli military. The Biden administration has defended the provision of military hardware to Israel in the wake of last year’s brazen terror attacks by Hamas that killed 1,200 people and saw about 250 being taken hostage.

With more than 34,000 people killed by the Israeli military’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, cities in the US, the UK and several European countries have witnessed pro-Palestine protests.

Asked about the protests and the safety of Indian students on American campuses, Jaiswal said the Indian side has been following these events. “In every democracy, there has to be the right balance between freedom of expression, sense of responsibility, and public safety and order,” he said.

“Democracies, in particular, should display this understanding in regard to other fellow democracies. After all, we are all judged by what we do at home and not what we say abroad,” he added.

Indian authorities are always in touch with Indian students in the US and “as and when there are issues which have to be resolved, we will look into it”, Jaiswal said.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the pro-Palestine protests on US campuses as “horrific” and “antisemitic”.

Responding to a separate question on a US state department annual report that was critical of the Indian government’s handling of human rights issues, Jaiswal said: “This report is deeply biased and reflects a poor understanding of India. We attach no value to it and urge you to do the same.”

The US state department’s annual human rights assessment said there were “significant” abuses in Manipur, which has witnessed clashes between Meiteis and Kukis since last year. The report also pointed to attacks on minorities, journalists and dissenting voices in the country.

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Source: HT

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