India on Tuesday strongly reacted to comments by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders there on protests by farmers, calling the remarks as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
“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,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
In a terse message, the ministry further added that “it is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.” On Monday, Trudeau, backing the agitating farmers in India, said Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests.
“The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about family and friends and I know that is a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest,” he said speaking at an online event on Monday to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Canada has a significant number of Indians and most of them are from Punjab. “We believe in the importance of dialogue and that is why we have reached out through multiple means directly to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns,” Trudeau said in the video posted on his Twitter account.
Canada’s Indian-origin Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan too expressed concern over the situation.
“The reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized in India are very troubling. Many of my constituents have family there and are worried about the safety of their loved ones. Healthy democracies allow peaceful protest. I urge those involved to uphold this fundamental right,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for six consecutive days at the borders of the national capital against three farm laws.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. The government has maintained that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.