Mumbai: After a top state department
official`s remark on Anna Hazare`s anti-graft campaign evoked
sharp criticism in India, a senior US diplomat on Tuesday refrained
from making a comment on the Gandhian`s stir, saying it was an
"The US supports democracy. We support a vibrant
democracy. This (Hazare stir) is an internal matter (for)
India to decide how that is handled," US consul General Peter Haas said.
"India, like the United States, is a vibrant democracy
and a country that supports the freedom of speech and the
right of assembly," Haas, who was posted to Mumbai earlier
this month, said, adding "I don`t think it is appropriate for
me to comment."
Recently, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland,
replying to a query about the movement against corruption by
Hazare, had said, "As you know, we support the right of
peaceful, non-violent protest around the world. That said,
India is a democracy, and we count on India to exercise
appropriate democratic restraint in the way it deals with
After the remarks drew sharp criticism here, the US had
blamed "inaccurate reporting" in India for creating an
impression that it had issued a strong statement on the
Haas refused to bracket the protests in Arab countries
with anti-corruption stir in India, saying democracy was a
crucial difference between the two.
"I think the crucial difference here is that India is a
democracy. I think that sums it up...the difference."
He was replying to a query on the difference between the
protests in India and the `Arab uprising` in countries like
Syria, Libya and Egypt, at the Press Club here.