German foreign ministry on Thursday said that they have “taken note” of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha triggering a war of words between Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Congress leaders.
In a tweet, Rijiju today stated, “Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters. Remember, Indian Judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji”.
Rijiju’s remark was in response to senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh’s tweet thanking the German foreign affairs ministry for “taking note of how democracy is being compromised through persecution of RahulGandhi”.
Taking to Twitter, Digvijaya Singh said, “Thank you German Foreign Affairs Ministry and Richard Walker for taking note of how the Democracy is being compromised in India through the persecution of Rahul Gandhi.”
During a press briefing that was aired on German state-owned international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), a German ministry spokesperson stated that her country “expects that the standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles will apply in the case.”
“We have taken note of the verdict of the first instance against the Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate. To our knowledge, Mr Gandhi is in a position to appeal the verdict,” she is heard saying in the clip of the briefing shared with English subtitles on Twitter by Richard Walkar the Chief International Editor of DW.
The German ministry spokesperson added, “It will then become clear whether this verdict will stand and whether the suspension of his mandate has any basis.”
Earlier this week US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the US is watching Rahul Gandhi’s case in Indian courts.
Patel, responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification said that the US engages with the Indian government on a shared commitment to democratic values, including freedom of expression.
On March 23, Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a Surat district court and sentenced to two years imprisonment in the 2019 defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark made in 2019 during an election rally in Karnataka.
The criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi was filed by BJP MLA from Surat West Purnesh Modi.
After being convicted by the court, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.
The sentence of two-year imprisonment has been suspended for 30 days before which Rahul Gandhi has to appeal against the conviction.
The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha has been one in a series of flashpoints between the Congress party and the ruling BJP, uniting the opposition parties who have been accusing the Centre of diverting attention from the Adani issue.
Both houses of Parliament witnessed unruly scenes and continuous disruptions since the second leg of the Budget session started on March 13 with the opposition demanding a joint parliamentary committee while the BJP hit back demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi over his “maligning the institutions” remark in London.