Indian spokesman points finger at US over anti-corruption protests

Congress party spokesman Rashid Alvi latched onto comments made last week by the US State Department.

Afp August 18, 2011

NEW DELHI: A spokesman for India's ruling party has suggested the United States might have a role in the wave of anti-corruption protests posing a growing challenge to the government.

Indian leaders have traditionally been suspicious that foreign interference may lie behind any opposition movement, although recent administrations have taken a more internationalist outlook and built strong ties with the US.

Congress party spokesman Rashid Alvi latched onto comments made last week by the US State Department in which Washington said it counted on India "to exercise appropriate democratic restraint" when handling protests.

"The US had never spoken about any movement in India. This is the first time that it did," Alvi was quoted as saying by the Times of India on Thursday.

"We show the path of democracy to others, what was the need for the US to say it? This has created suspicion."

Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner, has become a figurehead of public discontent after inspiring huge protests against graft and bribery among officials.

"Anna is alone. He has no organisation. Then how did this movement start and grow?" Alvi said.

"Who are these people spreading the word on Internet and telephones?"

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself hinted at outside interference during an address to parliament on Wednesday.

"We are now emerging as one of the important players on the world stage," he said.

"There are many forces that would not like to see India realise its true place in the comity of nations. We must not play into their hands."

Indira Gandhi, the former prime minister who suspended democratic rule in India amid political turmoil in the mid-1970s, routinely blamed a "foreign hand" for many of the country's problems and the phrase remains highly potent among politicians.

US State Department spokeswomen Victoria Nuland, who made the remarks that Alvi picked up on, moved to diffuse the row, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

"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," she told reporters in Washington.


N | 10 years ago | Reply

The first sign of guilt by the elite (and helplessness) - claim interference by the US!

India's democratic credentials not withstanding - they are superb - it is one of the most corrupt countries. In India day to to day transactions of the ordinary citizen are trapped in corrupt practices. In addition, a larger observation that shows how corrupt the ruling elite of the Congress Party is (mind you, we have the same), the Gandhis continue to dominate the party - not because they can, but because the sycophants around them know that they can loot shamelessly by imposing the dynasty upon the ordinary Indians. (Watch how Rahul Gandhi is being positioned to be the next PM).

On a healthy note ..... tradition of protest is alive in the citizens. People from all walks of life are taking to the streets, willing to go jail and not blame the US. It is their problem and they need to solve it. They know that. Do you think we could the same? Why could we not?

from india | 10 years ago | Reply

Whenever something chaotic happens in India, a Muslim politician from the Congress Party tries to divert the attention of the general public thereby trying to maintain the minority support intact. Be it Abdul Rehman Antulay or Rashid Alvi regarding 26/11 attacks or Anna Hazare's rally on corruption respectively. They just prove themselves of being a simpleton in front of the nation.

They forget that common man acknowledges the fact that terrorism and corruption have no religion !!

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