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India Rebukes US Over Student Arrests

Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests (Credits: Al Jazeera)

India has taken a subtle swipe at the United States, suggesting that Washington should focus on its own human rights record before criticizing others. This came in response to the US State Department’s report on human rights in India, which mentioned allegations of transnational crimes and the use of antisemitic tropes. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) dismissed the report as “deeply biased” and reflective of a “poor understanding of India.”

The MEA spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal, implied that the US should be more mindful of its own actions before criticizing other democracies. “In every democracy, there has to be the right balance between freedom of expression, sense of responsibility, and public safety and order.

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 said.

Randhir Jaiswal (Credits: Hindustan Times)

This statement was seen as a veiled reference to the recent arrests of university students in the US who were protesting the Gaza war. Over 100 students at Columbia University were arrested, leading to a wave of pro-Palestinian protests on campuses across the country.

India’s government has been critical of the US response to these protests, suggesting that it is hypocritical for Washington to criticize other countries for their handling of protests while cracking down on dissent at home.

The MEA’s statement also highlighted the double standards of the US in its criticism of India’s human rights record. While the US has expressed concern about India’s treatment of protesters and its handling of human rights issues, it has been silent on similar matters in its own country. India has pointed out that the US has its issues with racism, hate crimes, and gun violence but has not faced the same level of scrutiny as India.

Randhir Jaiswal (Credits: The Economic Times)

The tension between India and the US on human rights issues has been ongoing. In 2022, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern about a “rise in human rights abuses in India” without elaborating. India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, responded by saying that India had its concerns about the human rights situation in the US.

The MEA’s dismissal of the US State Department’s report aligns with India’s previous responses to similar criticism. India has consistently maintained that it is a democratic country with a vibrant civil society and an independent judiciary, and that it is capable of addressing its own human rights issues without external interference.

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