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‘Canada will always defend rights of peaceful protest’ — Justin Trudeau on farmers’ agitation

BJP leader Ram Madhav questions Trudeau's 'locus standi', asks 'isn’t it tantamount to interference in India’s sovereign matters?'

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New Delhi/Chandigarh: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed concern over the ongoing farmers’ protest against the central government’s three farm laws, saying the “situation is concerning”.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming from India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said during a virtual address to members of the Sikh community on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti Monday.

“We believe in the process of dialogue. We’ve reached out through multiple means to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together,” he added.

Trudeau is the first world leader to comment on the agitation that has seen thousands of farmers camping at the borders of Delhi. He also addressed the members of his cabinet who belong to the Sikh community.

On 29 November, Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan had also expressed concerns over the protests.

“The reports of peaceful protesters being brutalised 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,” Sajjan said.

‘Unwarranted’ comments

Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs termed the comments by Canadian leaders as “ill-informed”.

“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,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Ram Madhav said, “What is his locus standi? Isn’t it tantamount to interference in India’s sovereign matters?”

Other politicians from Canada show support

Several other politicians from Canada have also come out in support of the farmers’ agitation.

Erin Michael O’Toole, leader of the Canada’s Official Opposition, in a video message on Twitter, said: “…Farmers feed cities…The right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights in any democracy. I want you to know that Conservatives are aware of the situation. We’ve always supported people’s right to peaceful protest.”

New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, in a tweet, said: “Guru Nanak Sahib Ji led a social revolution believing that we are all one & equal. Today, as millions of farmers march towards India’s capital to oppose privatization — they walk w/ this spirit. To them & all who are celebrating, Happy #Gurpurab! (sic)”


NDP MP Jack Harris Monday started an online campaign calling on Trudeau to condemn the “Indian Govts violent repression of protests”.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been camping at the Delhi borders, protesting against the Centre’s agriculture laws. They have called a meeting Tuesday to discuss the Centre’s offer to hold talks even as they continue their agitation.

Also read: This is how Modi govt plans to address farmers’ problems, end protests

The story has been updated to add MEA spokesperson’s remarks

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  1. It is time India show it’s muscles. Canada is not that large economy. India should put Canadian Investment under watch. that will convey the message to Canadian Rahul Gandhi.

  2. The only logical conclusion then seems to be the annexation of Canada into Greater Punjab and hence a part of India. Trudeau can fight elections against Shri Amarinder

  3. India’s MPs should ask Trudeau did his father made comment during Margret Margaret thatcher ‘s confrontation with unions in UK? If not whether his father was wrong or is he an opportunist?

  4. Justin Trudeau is behaving as if he is Chief Minister of Canadian Punjab. Better that Canada should accede to India, it its PM is so intent on interfering in domestic affairs of India.

  5. Ill informed is not a phrase one associates with the elaborate protocols of diplomacy. All the more in relation to Canada, an old friend and fellow member of the Commonwealth.

  6. This is now getting out of hand. Shocking to see leaders of other countries deem it fit to comment on India’s internal matters without understanding the context or nuances of the situation.

    It is apparent that Canada’s own internal political dynamics are driving these statements.

    A polite but firm message needs to be passed on via official channels that these comments are not appreciated.

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