Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has backed the farmers protesting in India against the Central government's new farm laws and called the situation "concerning."
Trudeau was speaking at an online event to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on Monday. In his address, referred to the news about the farmer protests that have been raging in the country for the past few days and said, "Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest." He added that the situation is worrying and that many are worried about their friends and family.
In the video that has been posted by World Sikh Organisation, Trudeau said that Canada had reached out to Indian authorities to voice their concerns and that it is time for everyone to "pull together."
This also makes Trudeau the first international political leader to speak up about the farm protests.
On Tuesday, farmers entered the sixth consecutive day of protests braving water cannons, tear gas, police barricades, the pandemic, and winters. Thousands of people from several states, including Punjab, Haryana have camped out on the outskirts of Delhi in the biggest protest by farmers in years. They are demanding action against the new agri laws.
However, Trudeau's statement about the farmer protests was not welcomed by everyone.
Responding to Trudeau's statement, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took to Twitter and said, "Touched by your concern but India’s internal issue is not fodder for another nation’s politics. Pls respect the courtesies that we always extend to other nations." She further urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve this impasse before other countries find it okay to opine.
Here's how others reacted:
It would be better for PM @JustinTrudeau not to poke his snooty nose in matter sovereign to India.A person rulling without majority in parliament should first talk on protest against his fiscal mismanagement rather than Indian #FarmBills2020. pic.twitter.com/RYnsihjdCp— Research Wing (@ResearchWing) December 1, 2020
Canadian PM Trudeau has tacitly extended support to the farmers' protests in Delhi. What do we boycott now? Akshay Kumar?— Shahbaz Khan (@shahbazkhan185) December 1, 2020
Our government won’t even reply to Trudeau. He was snubbed brutally when he came to India. A junior minister greeted him at the airport, PM Modi didn’t meet for two days since his arrival and he didn’t go with him to Gujarat either.He is a non-existent geopolitical entity.— Vinayak (@vinayak_jain) December 1, 2020
Dear @JustinTrudeau ,touched by your concern but India’s internal issue is not fodder for another nation’s politics.Pls respect the courtesies that we always extend to other nations.Request PM @narendramodi ji to resolve this impasse before other countries find it okay to opine.— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) December 1, 2020
LOL Justin Trudeau is talking about Indian Farmer Protest. Goes to show how many Canadian PRs has the MSP funded.— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) December 1, 2020
Has @JustinTrudeau “expressed concern” about the peaceful protests in Hong Kong? Thailand? Poland? France? Bangladesh? And the many countries which have seen protests in the last few weeks? Or is he interested in defending the rights of only politically relevant groups?— Palki Sharma (@palkisu) December 1, 2020
There also seemed to be an increased interest in Justin Trudeau on Google trends after he backed the farmer protests.
In response to a media query on comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India the official spokesperson Shri Anurag Srivastava 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."
Following intensified protests, the Centre on Monday night invited agitating farmer unions for talks on December 1, two days ahead of a scheduled meeting. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who accused the opposition of playing tricks on farmers again through misinformation.