Anna protests: McCain lauds India’s democracy

August 18th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) US Senator John McCain Thursday brushed off the allegation by a Congress politician hinting at a US hand in stoking protests led by social activist Anna Hazare and stressed that the US does not involve itself in internal affairs of the world’s largest democracy.

“People are entitled to their opinions and views. The US does not involve itself in the affairs of what is happening in the world’s largest democracy,” McCain, who is on a six-day visit to India, told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi’s remarks about US “support” for Hazare and a foreign power trying to destabilise India.

McCain, who was the Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 US election, responded tactically when asked about mass protests against corruption in India.

“Our democratic politics will be energetic and contentious. We value our relationship as the world’s two largest democracies,” said the senator.

McCain stressed that democracy is “not the most pleasant experience” and said that he saw a lot of unhappiness at the town hall meetings in Arizona, the state he represents in the US senate.

In Washington, state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland blamed “some extremely inaccurate reporting out of India” for Indians taking umbrage over the US stand on Hazare’s protest and said it supported the right of non-violent protest universally.

“With regard to the case (Hazare), however, you know where we are. We support freedom of expression and assembly, and we encourage all countries and all parties to do the same,” Nuland said.

“All democratic governments have a responsibility to allow peaceful protest and freedom of dissent, even as they work to maintain public safety,” she said.

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