US Diplomat summoned by India over comments on Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest


Our Bureau

New Delhi

The Indian government has raised strong objection to remarks by a US State Department spokesperson on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. Mr Kejriwal was arrested last week in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam.

The External Affairs Ministry summoned Gloria Berbena, the US’ Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, to a 40-minute meet at its office in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon. In a brief statement released shortly afterwards, the MEA warned of “unhealthy precedents and against “unwarranted aspersions”.

“States are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the External Affairs Ministry stated.

On Monday, a state department spokesperson told Reuters that the US is closely following reports of the arrest of Kejriwal and encourages a fair legal process. “We encourage a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for chief minister Kejriwal,” the state department spokesperson said.

The US State Department’s comments came, in turn, days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Mr Kejriwal, like any other Indian citizen facing charges, is entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

The Indian government reacted strongly to the comment, summoning the German envoy and labelling the Foreign Office spokesperson’s remark “blatant interference in internal matters”.

“We see such remarks as interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary,” the External Affairs Ministry said, “Biased assumptions are most unwarranted.”

The external affairs ministry said such remarks were tantamount to “interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary”. it added, “Biased assumptions made on this account are most unwarranted.”

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