NEW DELHI: Reacting for the first time to the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi, the US on Thursday said the new farm laws could improve market efficiency. It, however, frowned upon the Narendra Modi government’s crackdown on protesters by snapping internet connectivity at protest sites.
“Unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy,” the US State Department said. Urging India to resolve the deadlock through dialogue, it said “peaceful protests” are hallmarks of a democracy.
In response, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said temporary measures with regard to internet access in certain parts of the NCR region were taken to prevent possible escalation of violence.
“As you can see, the US State Department has acknowledged steps being taken by India towards agricultural reforms,” Srivastava added.
“The incidents of violence and vandalism at the historic Red Fort on the 26th of January have evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the incidents on the Capitol Hill on the 6th of January and are being addressed as per respective local laws,” he added.
The remarks from the US administration come a day after India hit out at celebrities like pop star Rihanna and environment activist Greta Thunberg for allegedly spreading inaccuracies about the strike.