Washington: Keen to turn the media spotlight on the ‘international conspiracy’ behind the farmers’ agitation, India has sought from the US help in investigating the ‘Sikhs for Justice’ -- a Khalistani outfit -- and their secessionist campaign ‘Referendum 2020’. The request has been sent to the US Department of Justice, a foreign ministry official said in New Delhi, reports NDTV.
Also, refusing to go on the back foot in the face of the social media outrage, spearheaded by a few international celebs, including an activist, a pop singer and a porn star, US has been reminded of the recent eruption at Capitol Hill, a sticking point with the administration in Washington.
The ministry of external affairs official was cited by the television channel as saying: "The incidents of violence and vandalism at the historic Ref 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."
Earlier in the day, keeping Indian sensitivities in mind, the US came out in support of India's new farm laws, saying it welcomes steps that would "improve the efficiency" of Indian markets and attract greater private sector investment.
At the same time, the State Department spokesperson said that Washington recognizes that "peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy", adding that differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.
Reacting to the guarded comment from the US spokesperson, the Ministry of External Affairs underscored in New Delhi that it is "important to see such comments in their entirety". Pointing out that "India and the US are both vibrant democracies", ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the US "has acknowledged steps taken by India in agricultural reform".
On the embargo on internet access in parts of the National Capital Region, the spokesperson said it was "understandably taken to prevent further violence".
Meanwhile, several American lawmakers came out in support of the farmers' protests in India. "I am concerned at the reported actions against peaceful demonstrators protesting new agricultural reform laws in India," Congresswoman Haley Stevens said.