Sanders tweeted on Wednesday, “Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, ‘That’s up to India’. This is a failure of leadership on human rights.” Sanders took on Trump for his reaction at the press meet here on questions about the clashes.
Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured ma… https://t.co/xukArMLDBX
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) 1582748654000
In a milder reaction, supportive of the Indian government, a senior US state department official also tweeted on the violence in Delhi, urging calm and respect for the right of peaceful assembly. “Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and injured in New Delhi,” Alice G Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary for south and central Asian affairs at the state department, tweeted on Thursday.
“We echo PM Narendra Modi’s call for calm and normalcy and urge all parties to maintain peace, refrain from violence and respect the right of peaceful assembly,” she wrote.
Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and injured in New Delhi. We echo PM @NarendraModi’s call for cal… https://t.co/9C2CKhplx7
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) 1582802595000
BJP general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh responded to Sanders’s tweet on Thursday and said his party may be “compelled” to play a role in the US presidential elections coming up later this year. He, however, soon deleted his tweet.
Santhosh posted a sharp reaction at 7.45am on Thursday, saying, “How much ever neutral we wish to be, you compel us to play a role in the presidential elections. Sorry to say so… but you are compelling us.”
While BJP did not react to Santhosh’s tweet and deletion, clearly a political faux pas, the party general secretary evidently realised that h
e might have crossed the line and acted hastily by making the statement on social media.
Sanders took on Trump for his reaction at the press conference here on questions about the clashes during his visit, saying, “As far as the individual attacks, I heard about it, but I didn’t discuss that with him (PM Modi). That’s up to India.”
Apart from the Democratic presidential candidate, other influential Senators too expressed concern over the developments on Wednesday. “We are alarmed by the recent violence in New Delhi. We continue to support an open dialogue on issues of significant concern in order to advance our vital long-term relationship,” Senator Mark Warner from the Democratic Party and John Cornyn from the GOP said in a joint statement. they are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate.
Richard N Hass, who heads the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, said the reason for India’s relative success has been that its large Muslim minority saw itself as Indian. “But this is at risk owing to govt attempts to exploit identity politics for political advantage,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urged the Indian government to take swift action for the safety of its citizens. Expressing “grave concern” over the violence, the US body said the Indian government should provide protection to people regardless of their faith amid reports of an attack on Muslims.
And yesterday, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee said its chairman Eliot Engel was “deeply troubled by the deaths from communal violence in India” (reported in Thursday’s final edition).