Amidst the renewed agitation and controversy surrounding the historic farm laws, Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) have been exercising unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of India.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had earlier sparked controversy by claiming that he is ‘worried’ about Indian farmers, has yet again extended his support to the ‘organic’ anti-farm law movement. During a press conference on Friday, Trudeau was asked for his response on the statement of the Indian government wherein it warned that his remarks could damage India-Canada relations. However, Justin Trudeau said, “Canada will always stand up for the right to peaceful protest anywhere around the world. And we will like to see that it moves towards de-escalation and dialogue.”
On being specifically asked about the impact of his interference on bilateral relations, he brushed it aside and replied, “Canada will always stand up for the right to peaceful protests and human rights around the world.” It is important to mention that the Indian government had earlier summoned the Canadian High Commissioner on Friday to issue stern warnings.
“These comments have encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of our High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security. We expect the Canadian Government to ensure the fullest security of Indian diplomatic personnel and its political leaders to refrain from pronouncements that legitimize extremist activism,” MEA stated.
During the virtual Gurpurab 2020 celebration, PM Trudeau had stated, “I would be remiss if I didn’t start also by recognizing the news coming out of India about the protests by farmers. The situation is concerning. And we all are very worried about family and friends; I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you. Canada will always be ready to defend the right to peaceful protest. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we reached out to multiple means directly to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns.”
Not just Canada: 36 British MPs calls for urgent meeting on farmer protests in India, labels it ‘death warrant’
Besides Canada, around 36 British MPs have come forward against the supposed exploitation of farmers in India through the newly introduced farm laws. In a letter addressed to the Foreign Secretary, Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi claimed, “The introduction of these new laws by the Indian government (Centre) has, despite the Coronavirus, triggered widespread farmers’ protests across the country for failing to protect farmers from exploitation and to ensure fair prices for their produce. This is an issue of particular concern to Sikhs in the UK and those linked to Punjab, although it also heavily impacts on other Indian states.”
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has claimed that several British Sikhs have been forced to notify their MPs about the same as the law would supposedly affect their ancestral lands in Punjab. “Being famous as “India’s bread-basket”, many Punjabis rely on farming for their existence. About three-quarters of the state’s 30 million-strong population is involved in agriculture. Therefore, these new laws present the Punjabis with a huge problem, with some describing it as a death warrant,” he added.
Farmers from the Punjab and across India are peacefully protesting against #FarmersBill2020.— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) December 4, 2020
Following our October meet, further discussions and given strong sense of injustice felt by many constituents, cross-party letter from British MPs has been sent to the Foreign Secretary. pic.twitter.com/l8aZWiekor
The letter claimed, “The Punjabi farming community is widely recognised as the backbone of the state’s economic structure and the farmers’ concerns are a powerful factor in national and state politics. It’s therefore not surprising that it has resulted in a considerable fallout between the Centre and elected politicians from virtually all political parties in Punjab.” The Labour MP went on to ‘quote’ figures from Sikh Council in the United Kingdom to suggest that 93% of respondents of a survey expressed concerns about the rise in ‘human rights violations’ after the agitation.