India summons US envoy over Leno’s remark
New Delhi: Unhappy with US government’s reaction to NBC host Jay Leno’s jibe against Golden Temple, the Indian government on Tuesday summoned a senior US diplomat while saying the remarks have hurt Sikh sentiments.
Reacting strongly to the incident the Indian government has sent a protest note to NBC demanding apology for the incident. However, the TV channel has yet to respond to the letter.
Earlier, the US came to the defence of Leno and said the visual of Golden Temple in Amritsar during "The Tonight Show" was a "satirical" reference to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney`s vacation home.
While the US had "absolute respect" for the people of India, including Sikhs, "The Tonight Show" host`s comments "are constitutionally protected in the United States under free speech", State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday.
The US, she said, had so far "had not had any communications from the Indian government" on the controversial comments that have angered the Sikh community in the US which has launched an online petition against Leno.
Asked about the US government`s stand on the issue, Nuland said: "Well, I think that Mr Leno would be appreciative - I hope he`ll be appreciative - if we make the point that his comments are constitutionally protected in the United States under free speech, and frankly, they appear to be satirical in nature."
"But from a US official government perspective, we have absolute respect for all the people of India, including Sikhs here, there," she said.
(With agency inputs)
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