Canada PM Justin Trudeau
Canada PM Justin Trudeau
Photo: AFP

Vancouver: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, given his strong constituency of ‘Punjabi’ settlers, could not resist commenting on the ongoing farmers' protests in the national Capital. "Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest," Trudeau said.

Clearly overreaching, Trudeau further said in a video posted on his Twitter account. ‘‘The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about family and friends and I know that is a reality for many of you."

"Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest. We believe in importance of dialogue and that is why we have reached out through multiple means directly to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns," he said.

India strongly reacted to the comments, calling them as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted" as the matter pertained to its internal affairs.

"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.

In a terse message, the ministry further added that "it is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes."

Canada's Indian-origin Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan too has expressed concern over the situation. "The reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized in India are very troubling. Many of my constituents have families 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," he tweeted on Sunday.

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. Please 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.

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Free Press Journal