India condemns US statement on arrest of Opposition leader Kejriwal

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US Diplomat Gloria Berbena Leaves South Block After India Summons Over Remarks on Delhi CM's Arrest. image Credit ANI

NEW DEHLI – India took diplomatic action on Wednesday by summoning a senior United States diplomat in response to remarks made by Washington concerning the recent incarceration of a prominent opposition figure just weeks before parliamentary elections.

The US State Department’s call for India to ensure a fair legal process for Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, who was arrested last week amidst a longstanding corruption investigation, drew strong objection from India’s foreign ministry. Emphasizing the importance of diplomatic respect for sovereignty and internal affairs, India voiced its discontent with the comments.

Local media captured footage of Gloria Berbena, the senior US diplomat, arriving at India’s foreign ministry, though no immediate response was forthcoming from the US embassy.

Notably, Germany also expressed concerns over Kejriwal’s arrest, prompting India to summon Germany’s deputy ambassador last Saturday.

Kejriwal faces allegations of receiving kickbacks related to liquor licenses, which he denies. Supporters allege his arrest is politically motivated, aimed at sidelining challengers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of next month’s elections—an accusation rebuffed by India’s foreign ministry, which underscores the independence and fairness of its legal processes.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India, responsible for Kejriwal’s arrest, has initiated probes into several other state chief ministers or their family members.

With nearly a billion voters participating, India’s parliamentary elections, commencing on April 19, represent the world’s largest democratic exercise. Despite Modi’s expected re-election, driven partly by his Hindu-nationalist agenda, the political landscape remains dynamic.