The US administration under President Joe Biden has urged for a dialogue to resolve the ongoing farmers’ agitation in India and expressed concern over the blocked access to the internet. According to the State Department, ‘any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.’
A State Department spokesperson said, “We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and hallmark of a thriving democracy.”
The US also reminded India about the essence of peaceful protests in a thriving democracy. The spokesperson, according to news agency PTI, said, “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, however, said that it welcomed ‘steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment.’
NEW: State Department urges “dialogue” on #FarmersProtests in India, signals concern over blocked Internet access: “We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.” pic.twitter.com/qtCONfG1GX
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) February 3, 2021
The statement from the State Department on India’s farmers’ protests comes hours after pop star Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg extended their extraordinary support to the farmers’ agitation in India. Also throwing her weight behind the farmers’ movement was Meena Harris, the niece of the newly elected US Vice President Kamala Harris.
Reacting to Rihanna’s tweet, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had issued an extraordinary statement saying that ‘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 by the MEA had read.
The statement by the MEA was followed by several Indian celebrities such as actors Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan, cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and singer Lata Mangeshkar posting identical tweets expressing their resentment to foreign intervention to what they said was India’s internal matter.
It remains to be seen how the Indian government and these celebrities react to a formal statement by the US government on India’s farmers’ protests.