Over the last 10 days, hundreds of farmers have converged in the national capital, protesting against the BJP-led Central government's new farm Acts. Having rejected the Centre's initial offer of amendments, the representatives of the farm groups met with Union Minister for a second time on Saturday. They want the laws in question to be repealed.
Against this backdrop, the official reaction to the protests - beginning with the use of strong deterrent measures such as water cannons and tear gas - has garnered sharp criticism. Not only Indian leaders, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric have also spoken out about the issue recently. Now, leaders from yet another country have joined the growing clamour.
According to reports, 36 British MPs have written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, urging him to raise the issue with the Indian government. This includes signatories from several parties, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Many of these individuals are of Indian origin and others represent constituents with links to Punjab.
"This is an issue of particular concern to Sikhs in the UK and those linked to the Punjab, although it also heavily impacts on other Indian states," the letter states. Emphasising the right of people to hold peaceful protests, many British MPs have recently reacted with horror at the visuals from the protests.
India incidentally had not reacted well to the comments made by Trudeau. "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 soon after.
Then came summons for the Canadian High Commissioner to meet with the Ministry of External Affairs.