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India Criticizes US Over Student Arrests, Describing Human Rights Report as ‘Deeply Biased’

India dismisses US human rights report as 'deeply biased' (Credits: Reuters)

India took a swipe at the United States on Thursday, suggesting that the US, which had recently arrested numerous university students protesting the Gaza conflict, should exhibit less criticism toward “other fellow democracies.” The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also denounced the US State Department’s human rights report on India, calling it “deeply biased.”

Last week, over 100 students at Columbia University were arrested during a sit-in protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza. This sparked a wave of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at prestigious US universities, resulting in mass arrests.

During a regular media briefing, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal indirectly criticized Washington for scrutinizing India’s handling of protests in response to the arrests in US universities.

India Slams US Human Rights Report (Credits: Sentinel Assam)

Jaiswal emphasized the importance of striking a balance between freedom of expression, responsibility, and public safety in democracies. He suggested that democracies should be mindful of each other’s domestic situations, as they are judged by their actions at home.

The Gaza conflict began when the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an attack into Israel, resulting in remarkable  casualties. In response, Israel initiated a military offensive in Gaza, leading to further loss of life, particularly among civilians.

This exchange is not the first instance of diplomatic tension between India and the US over human rights issues. In the past, India has reacted strongly to US commentary on its internal affairs, such as during the 2020-21 farmers’ protests near Delhi.

India on US human rights report (Credits: The Indian Express)

India has also raised concerns about human rights abuses in the US, particularly regarding racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes, and gun violence. However, there has been little response from Washington to these concerns.

Regarding the US State Department’s 2023 report on human rights practices, India dismissed it as biased and lacking understanding of the country’s complications. The report raised issues such as the Indian government’s campaign against philanthropist George Soros and allegations of transnational repression against journalists and activists.

India’s stance reflects its sensitivity to external scrutiny of its internal affairs and its willingness to push back against perceived interference in its domestic matters.

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