India Cites Capitol Hill Violence After US Remarks On Farmers’ Protest

New Delhi: The US called for dialogue to address the farmers’ protest in India and backed peaceful demonstrations and freedom of expression.

The US described peaceful protests and unhindered access to information and the internet as indicators of a “thriving democracy”.

The remarks by a US embassy spokesperson were the first public comments by the Biden administration on the farmers’ protest that began last November. Hours later, the ministry of external affairs said the protest must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos, and compared violence at a farmers’ rally on January 26 to the chaos during the siege of the US Capitol on January 6.

“We recognise that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same,” the US embassy spokesperson said on the farmers’ protest that has increasingly attracted attention worldwide. “We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue,” the spokesperson added.

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

Asked about the US position at a regular news briefing, the external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “Any protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the ongoing efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse.”

“The incidents of violence and vandalism at the historic Red Fort on January 26 have evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the incidents on the Capitol Hill on January 6 and are being addressed as per our respective local laws.”

He said “temporary measures” on internet access in parts of the National Capital Region were “undertaken to prevent further violence”.