India opposition leader's custody extended

A court in New Delhi has extended the custody of a key opposition leader till Monday in an alleged corruption case. Opposition parties accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of engineering the arrest ahead of a general election starting next month.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was detained last week. Authorities allege his Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, got kickbacks from liquor businesses in the capital and gave them favorable treatment. Kejriwal is a fierce critic of Modi.

Thursday's ruling comes soon after the international community raised concerns over Kejriwal's arrest. The spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said Thursday that "what we very much hope" is that the rights of everyone in India are protected, "including political and civil rights."
A US State Department spokesperson said Wednesday America encourages India to follow "fair, transparent and timely legal processes."

India reacted sharply to the latter comment. A spokesperson for the Indian External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday that the remark was "unwarranted," adding that "any such external imputation on our electoral and legal processes is completely unacceptable."

India also summoned an official from the US Embassy to complain.

Opposition parties have been staging repeated protests in the capital over Kejriwal's arrest. An opposition alliance including the main opposition Congress party plans to hold a rally on Sunday to call for his release.