US envoy Garcetti stresses peaceful expression amid protests, ensures safety for Indian students in US

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
6 Min Read

Amid the ongoing pro-Palestine protests in US universities, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti on Friday stressed that opinions should be expressed in a 'peaceful' manner, underscoring that 'no one should feel threatened. Should not happen'.

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Emphasizing the American values ​​of freedom of expression, Garcetti underlined that it would be 'unacceptable' if anything goes beyond the limits where someone feels personally threatened.

“This is a moment where, you know, there's so much discord in the world. And we believe in America that opinions should be expressed, but no one should feel threatened. If anything goes beyond the point where someone feels personally threatened. This is something that is unacceptable, and there will be consequences,” Envoy Garcetti said during an interview with ANI.

“At the same time, people have the right to express their opinions, their differences, in a peaceful way, in a way where we can agree to disagree, agree, or we can respect each other's different opinions. can do. And I think that's the goal for all of us,” he said.

According to CNN, colleges across the United States are grappling with growing unrest as pro-Palestinian protests spread across their campuses, prompting administrators to implement unprecedented measures to deal with the escalating situation.

Protesters at Columbia University, where demonstrations took place last week, are demanding the severance of ties with Israeli academic institutions and complete divestment from Israel-linked institutions amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs also reacted to the ongoing protests during a press conference and said there should be the right balance between freedom of expression and a sense of responsibility, adding that a democratic country is judged by What we do at home. And that's not what we say abroad.”

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, 'We have seen reports on the matter and are monitoring related incidents. Every democracy must have the right balance between freedom of expression, a sense of responsibility and public safety and order. Democracies should demonstrate this understanding, especially in relation to other fellow democracies. “After all, we are all judged by what we do at home, not what we say abroad.”

Asked if this was a matter of concern for India because Indian students study in US universities, the spokesperson said, “As far as your question regarding Indian students is concerned, we are always in touch with Indian students. We live together and whenever there is an issue we stay in touch.” A solution should be found, we will look into it.”

Furthermore, addressing the concerns regarding the safety of Indian students studying in the United States amid the recent incidents of tragic deaths of several people under various circumstances, the US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, underlined that his country is committed to protecting every student. Takes care of the well-being of. With the number of students coming to America to study being high, he wants to bring such incidents to zero.

“We care deeply about the well-being of every student, especially our Indian students who are coming to the United States. We want to make sure they have all the information, whether it's mental health care, whether it's physical safety, and all of our college campuses have amazing resources that we want to tell Indian students about before they come to the United States. Are. Garcetti said.

“Certainly with over 240,000 students there are always going to be tragic events, but we want to try to get that number closer to zero and give people help when they have a challenge, or something Those who can succeed, ensure that they will be looked after in the same way as they are at home, in their community or in their country,” he said.

With approximately 2,45,000 Indian students pursuing education on US campuses annually, security has become a paramount issue for both students and their families.

Highlighting that Indian students enrich the culture of the United States, the envoy expressed his love and warmth towards Indian students.

“We love Indian students in America. They improve our campuses, enrich our culture, and we want them to have the best experience by having something that will enrich their lives and change the way they make their dreams come true in their lives. Give,” Ambassador Garcetti said.

Notably, several tragic incidents involving Indian citizens or people of Indian origin have been reported from the US recently.

At least five Indian students have been reported dead in separate incidents in the first two months of 2024.

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