The farmers’ protest in the outskirts of the Indian capital entered its seventh day on Wednesday as New Delhi reacted sharply to comments by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying the issue is an internal affair of the country.
In a terse rebuttal to Mr Trudeau’s comments, External Affairs Ministry’s official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the Canadian leader’s comments were “ill-informed” and “unwarranted.”
“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,” the spokesperson said on late Tuesday.
“It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes,” the MEA spokesperson added. Supporting farmers who have stepped up their protest against the new farm laws in India, Canadian Prime Minister had said:“ Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest.” Mr Trudeau had described the situation as “concerning.” Thousands of farmers from Northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are camping on the outskirts of Delhi’s borders, demanding that they should be allowed to march to the heart of the national Capital to register their protests.
The police have tried to block the march of the farmers by use of water cannons in biting cold weather, bursting tear gas shells and putting up barricades. The Central government had invited farmers’ organisations for talks on Tuesday with the Agriculture Minister and Railways Minister. A delegation of farmers also held talks but nothing came out of it with the farmers reiterating their decision to continue the protests. Next round of talks will be held on Thursday.
Farmers are demanding repealing of three laws which were passed by Parliament in September and seek to open up the market for farm produce. Farmers fear that the new laws will facilitate the entry of corporate entities in the agriculture sector and weaken their position. They also want a guarantee from the Central government for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce.