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Backing India farm laws, US says ‘peaceful protests, internet access hallmark of democracy’

A US Embassy spokesperson 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.”

SNS | New Delhi |

The US on Wednesday, in comments on the farmer protests, said that unhindered access to information and peaceful protests are hallmarks of democracy, and also backed ‘steps that can improve the efficiency of India’s markets.’

The US State Department’s remarks come at a time when the farmers are protesting against the three contentious farm laws passed by the government and the government’s move of blocking internet services near the protests sites.

A US Embassy spokesperson 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.”

“In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment,” said the spokesperson further while backing the farm laws.

Thousands of farmers who are protesting at Delhi borders against the three farm laws are demanding that the government should withdraw the farm laws and pass legislation for minimum support price for their crop.

On internet restrictions, the spokesperson 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 from the US administration come after pop icon Rihanna, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and others tweeted in favour of farmers’ agitation.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement issued on Wednesday warned against ‘temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments without a proper understanding of the issues.’

The statement said, “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.”

“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the statement said with using the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.

Several Indian celebrities and lawmakers shared the statement with the hashtags.