US envoy favours freedom of expression in varsities

Patna, Feb 23 (IANS) Amid uproar over the JNU incident, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Tuesday said he favoured the right of debate and discussion in universities under freedom of expression in a democracy.

“‘Freedom of expression’ is a big hallmark of the world’s two largest democracies — India and the US. It should be encouraged in universities,” Verma said during an interaction with the media here.

The US envoy was asked for his comment on the hue and cry across the country after JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on sedition charges.

“Every democracy has to protect the space given to an individual for free speech or freedom of expression,” Verma said.

He said that during his trips across India in the last 14 months, he found the country “full of diversity”.

“There is diversity of people, diversity of language, diversity of thoughts and ideas. All this makes India great,” he said.

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