UN wades into row over Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, Congress’s bank accounts: ‘Hope that in India…’

UN wades into row over Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, Congress’s bank accounts: ‘Hope that in India…’

Day after India said Washington’s call for fairness in legal cases related to opposition parties was “unwarranted” and “unacceptable”, the United Nations waded into the controversy saying the world hopes everyone is able to vote in the country’s parliamentary elections in a free and fair atmosphere, PTI reported.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leaves Rouse Avenue Court after appearing in a liquor case, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

When asked about the “political unrest” in India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the wake of the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress’s party allegations of freezing of their bank accounts, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said, “What we very much hope that in India, as in any country that is having elections, that everyone’s rights are protected, including political and civil rights, and everyone is able to vote in an atmosphere that is free and fair.”

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The United States has twice commented on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and charges of the freezing of opposition Congress party bank accounts ahead of an election. A State Department spokesperson on Monday said the US is closely following reports of the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and encourages a fair legal process, drawing strong objection from India which summoned the acting U.S. deputy chief of mission in New Delhi.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

Washington, however, doubled down its call for India to carry out “fair, transparent, and timely legal processes for each of these issues.”

“We don’t think anyone should object to that, and we’ll make the same thing clear privately,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters in Washington.

Miller also declined to comment on India summoning the top US diplomat in India, Gloria Berbena, saying he was not going to talk about any private diplomatic conversations.

Asked about the US State Department’s fresh comments on Kejriwal’s arrest and the Congress party’s allegations, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing the remarks are unwarranted.

“Any such external imputation on our electoral and legal processes is completely unacceptable,” he said.

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