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India reacts to protests on American university campuses; takes a dig at US govt on 'democracy'

MEA stresses need for democracies to strike a delicate balance between freedom of expression, individual responsibility and public safety

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- May 03rd 2024 02:58 PM
India reacts to protests on American university campuses; takes a dig at US govt on 'democracy'

India reacts to protests on American university campuses; takes a dig at US govt on 'democracy'

Pro-Palestine protest USA: Amidst the backdrop of heightened protests across American university campuses, India took a nuanced stance on the concept of democracy, subtly directing criticism towards the United States government—a notable departure from the usual narrative where Washington often uses the issue of democracy to lecture other nations.

Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) highlighted the significance of democracies exhibiting understanding and mutual respect towards each other, particularly in times of dissent and upheaval.


In a statement issued on Thursday, the MEA underscored the need for democracies to strike a delicate balance between freedom of expression, individual responsibility and public safety. 


The ongoing Pro-Palestine protests on American university campuses have captured international attention, with over 2,100 students arrested as they occupied various campus grounds and defied eviction orders. However, despite the scale of the protests, the MEA clarified that no Indian students or their families had sought assistance from Indian consulates regarding potential disciplinary actions resulting from their participation in the demonstrations.

Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, reiterated the expectation for all Indian citizens, both at home and abroad, to uphold and respect local laws and regulations. 

Meanwhile, US authorities responded to the protests with a series of arrests, targeting both students and non-students in an attempt to restore order. The New York Police Department (NYPD) conducted raids on encampments at prominent institutions such as Columbia University and the City University of New York (CUNY), resulting in the arrest of several persons. Mayor Eric Adams attributed the unrest on college campuses to "outside agitators" seeking to radicalise young people—a sentiment echoed by the authorities grappling with the fallout from the protests.

Mayor Adams' remarks, however, were met with criticism, particularly regarding the handling of the situation by Columbia University and its leadership. The takeover of Hamilton Hall, a focal point of the protests, was characterised by Mayor Adams as primarily orchestrated by individuals unaffiliated with the university. Despite this assertion, Mayor Adams acknowledged the involvement of some students in the demonstrations.

- With inputs from agencies

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