Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become the first foreign leader to publicly speak about the farmers' protests in India after he sent solidarity to the peasants and said that the situation is highly concerning. Modi's Canadian counterpart has reiterated that Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protesters.
Justin Trudeau was addressing the occasion of Guru Nanak Gurpurab to his Canadian-Punjabi constituents on Tuesday and during his address, he said, "I would be remiss if I didn't start by recognizing the news coming from India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. We know that's a reality for many of you".
The Canadian Prime Minister stated "Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests. We believe in the process of dialogue. We have reached out through multiple means to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together".
Trudeau has become the first foreign leader to speak out about the farmers' protest and his solidarity has come at a high time when the farmers are intensifying the protests to demand the Central government to repeal the three controversial farm bills that were proposed by the government which the farmers say would be threatening their lives as the bills would bring private players into the agricultural sector and would destroy their grounds of minimum support price (MSP).
Delhi has been witnessing unprecedented protests from the farmers as the national capital is under unrest and disruption due to the overwhelming presence of the farmers who had gathered across Delhi and blocked major highways connecting the city. The farmers have been protesting in the national capital for the sixth straight day and they had threatened to block the borders of the capital if the Central government refuses to meet their demand and come up with the solution of repealing the bills.
Thousands of farmers from other states have been joining the protests every day and they had asked the farmers' unions across the country to expand the protests in their respective states. With the unprecedented scale of agitations and unrest, Delhi has been witnessing heated protests amid winter. The farmers had urged the government to take their demand seriously and pressed that they would back-off the protests only if their demands for revoking the farm bills are met.
The protests had drawn international attention with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had extended his support to the farmers. However, his remarks in favor of farmers had stirred a diplomatic spat between India and Canada. Following Trudeau's statement, the Indian government had strongly reacted to the statement from the Canadian Prime Minister. The Indian government had called the remarks from Trudeau as ill-informed and unwarranted.
The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs had on Tuesday said, "We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes".
Along with Justin Trudeau, Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, who is a Punjabi immigrant, also voiced in support of the farmers. Harjit Singh said that the reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized in India are very troubling. By citing that the healthy democracies allow peaceful protest, Harjit Singh had urged the concerned authorities to uphold the fundamental right. The international voices have come when the Central government has backed off from its aggressive approach.
The Central government has convened the meeting on Tuesday at Vigyan Bhawan in what has become the first phase of talks with the farmers to mitigate the protests. The meeting was chaired by Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal and was attended by the representatives of the protesting farmers. Following the meeting, Chanda Singh, who represented the farmers, said, "Our movement against Farm Laws will continue & we'll definitely take back something from the Govt, be it bullets or a peaceful solution. We'll come back for more discussions with them".
On the other hand, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, following the meeting, had said, "The meeting was good and we have decided that the talks will be held on 3rd December. We wanted a small group to be constituted but farmers' leaders wanted that the talks should be held with everyone, we do not have a problem with it". The Union Minister further stated "We appeal to the farmers to suspend the protests and come for the talks. However, this decision depends on farmers' unions and farmers". It must be noted that Canada has a large population of Sikh-Punjabi immigrants who occupy the public offices of the North-American country and Canadian politicians have always been favorable to the Punjabi-Canadians.
Canada PM @JustinTrudeau raises the issue of farmer protests in India. Says, "situation is concerning.... Canada will always be thr to defend the right of peaceful protest". Adds, "we have reached out through multiple means directly to Indian authorities" pic.twitter.com/SKa0GJAMzr— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) December 1, 2020