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A wave of criticism has washed over Indian social media, targeting the perceived hypocrisy of the US administration regarding free speech. This follows revelations that former CIA Director Mike Pompeo allegedly planned to kidnap or kill Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, after the organization published sensitive documents in 2010.

The news of Pompeo’s alleged plan has reignited outrage in India concerning WikiLeaks’ treatment by the US. Many Indian social media users point out that WikiLeaks’ publications exposed large-scale US government surveillance programs, sparking concerns about privacy and government overreach. They question why revealing such information would warrant such an extreme reaction from the US, particularly when it involved potential violations of US citizens’ rights.

The criticism further intensifies when juxtaposed with the recent US warnings to India regarding an alleged plot to assassinate Paramjeet Singh Pannun, a pro-Khalistani activist. The US has consistently defended Pannun’s actions under the umbrella of free speech, despite his documented threats against Indian diplomats and his offering of rewards for those who harm Indian politicians.

This perceived double standard has irked many Indian social media users. They argue that the US seems comfortable shielding Pannun’s actions, which directly incite violence, while simultaneously condemning WikiLeaks’ publication of information, even if it exposes potentially illegal activities. This inconsistency has led many to question the US’ commitment to free speech as a universal principle.

Many Indian social media users are calling for a more nuanced approach from the US, advocating for the protection of genuine free speech while taking action against those who incite violence or threaten national security.