The Ministry of External Affairs said it has summoned the Canadian High Commissioner on Friday as the comments by the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and some other leaders on the farmers’ protests constitute “an unacceptable interference” in India’s internal affairs.
India said that the comments made by Canadian politicians, including ministers and members of Parliament, “legitimise extremist activism”.
Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada, New Delhi conveyed to the Canadian diplomat, according to a foreign ministry press release.
“These comments have encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of our High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security,” the statement said. “We expect the Canadian government to ensure the fullest security of Indian diplomatic personnel and its political leaders to refrain from pronouncements that legitimise extremist activism.”
On December 1, Trudeau had spoken in support of the farmers’ protest in Delhi against the Centre’s agriculture laws, saying that his country will always defend the rights of peaceful protestors. “The situation [from the protest] is concerning,” he had said at an online event to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. “We’re all very worried about family and friends.”
India had immediately responded, saying the Canadian leader’s comments were “unwarranted and ill-informed”, especially when pertaining to the “internal affairs of a democratic country”. Anurag Srivastava, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, had said that it’d be best if diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for “political purposes”.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have camped out at the entrance to Delhi for the ninth consecutive day to reverse the agricultural legislations, which they fear could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
The farmers agitation has been met with violent action from police, who have attempted to turn them back by using water cannons and tear gas. The authorities had taken extraordinary measures to set up blockades on highways – parking buses, trucks and other large vehicles. At some places, they even dug up trenches to obstruct farmers, many of whom camped on highways for the night in chilling temperatures.
Talks between farmers and the Centre on Thursday again failed to break the impasse, even though the meeting lasted for more than seven hours. Another round of talks is scheduled to take place on December 5.