United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said the Indian government must respect people's right to protest, reported ANI. Addressing a packed house at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, Kerry said, “We have to respect the rights of all our citizens irrespective of creed and allow them to protest in peace without fear that they will be jailed."
His comment is relevant in the backdrop of the recent incident in Bengaluru where the police slapped sedition charges against Amnesty International for organising an event on the human rights violations in Kashmir. Early this year, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, too, were booked after they allegedly organised an event protesting against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The US State department had earlier said that it supported "the right to freedom of expression and assembly, including through civil society."
His speech at the institute included tough talk on terrorism, reported India Today. Kerry said that to fight organisations like the Islamic State group, al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad, the world needs to unite and work as a team. He said, “The battle to counter terrorists and extremists cannot be won by one nation. It's clear that Pakistan has work to do in order to push harder against its indigenous groups that are engaged in militancy." He also acknowledged that Pakistan has itself been the victim of militancy many times. "Pakistan has suffered greatly from this terrorism in their own country. More than 50,000 people have been killed."
According to NDTV, Kerry hailed India as an “established power with a footprint that affects the entire planet," and said the India-US pact will affect the whole world.