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

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI : Amid the ongoing pro-Palestine protests rocking US universities, the ambassador of the US to India Eric Garcetti on Friday stressed that the opinions should be expressed in a ‘peaceful’ manner, underlining that ‘nobody should feel threatened’.

Emphasising on the American values of freedom of expression, Garcetti underlined that it would be ‘unacceptable’ if anything goes over the line, where somebody feels individually threatened.

“It’s the moment, you know, having a lot of discord in the world. And we in America believe opinions should be expressed, but nobody should feel threatened. If anything goes over the line where somebody feels individually threatened. That’s something that’s unacceptable, and there will be consequences,” said Envoy Garcetti during an interview with ANI.

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

Colleges across the United States are grappling with escalating unrest as pro-Palestinian protests sweep through their campuses, prompting administrators to implement unprecedented measures to address the intensifying situation, as per CNN.

Protesters at Columbia University, where demonstrations ignited last week, demand the severance of ties with Israeli academic institutions and complete divestment from entities linked to Israel amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “We have seen reports on the matter and have been following related events. In every democracy, there has to be the right balance between freedom of expression, a sense of responsibility and public safety and order. Democracies in particular should display this understanding in regard to other fellow democracies. After all, we are all judged by what we do at home and not what we say abroad.”

Asked whether it is a concern for India as 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 and as and when there are issues which have to be resolved, we will look into it.”

Further, addressing concerns regarding the safety of Indian students studying in the United States amid the recent incidents of the tragic death of many under various circumstances, US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti underlined that his country takes care of the well-being of every student coming to the USA and that since with the higher figures of students coming to the US for studying, he wants to reduce such incidents to Zero.

“We care so deeply for the well-being of every student especially our Indian students that are coming to the United States. We want to make sure that they have all the information whether it’s mental health care, whether it’s physical safety, and there’s wonderful resources on all of our college campuses that we want to make Indian students know about before they come to the United States.” said Garcetti.

“With over 240,000 students of course there’s always going to be tragic incidents but we want to try to get that number as close to zero as we can and to give people help when there is a challenge that they face, or something that happens to make sure that they are cared for just as they would be in their own home, their community, or their own country,” he added.

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

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

“We love Indian students in America. They improve our campuses, enrich our culture, and we want them to have the very best experience that they can have something that enriches their lives and changes the way that their dreams can come true in their own lives,” said Ambassador Garcetti.

Notably, multiple distressing incidents have been reported lately from the US involving Indian nationals or people of Indian origin.

As many as five Indian students were reported dead in separate incidents in the first two months of 2024. (ANI)

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