US blames inaccurate reporting for Hazare misunderstanding

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Washington, Aug 18: The US has blamed "inaccurate reporting" in India for creating an impression that it had issued a strong statement on the anti-graft crusade led by Anna Hazare there, contending that it supports freedom of peaceful expression and non-violent protest across the globe.

"There was some extremely inaccurate reporting out of India ... that the United States had issued some sort of strong statement, which we did not issue. The only statement about India on Wednesday to my knowledge was the one that we made from the podium here," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, told reporters last evening.

Nuland was responding to questions about the statement by a Congress party spokesman suggesting that the US was interfering in the internal affairs of India.

"I think this goes to inaccurate reporting in India that we had issued some sort of statement on -- with regard to this case that we did not issue. With regard to the case, 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.

She said all democratic governments have a responsibility to allow peaceful protest and freedom of dissent, even as they work to maintain public safety, and India is a country that has a strong and long-established democratic tradition, to which people look up to.

"It has a long tradition of non-violent protest. And it's widely admired for these things and open debate. And that's the standard that we -- we all have come to expect from India," Nuland said. 

PTI

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