Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest: Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister speaks out for agitating farmers in India   

Justin Trudeau

In a strong condemnation of the way protesters from the farming community are being treated by the Indian police, Justin Trudeau expressed his concern over the news coming out from New Delhi.

“The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about family and friends,” said Trudeau at the very outset as he wished members of the Sikh Community, while addressing the participants at an online meeting organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak on Monday, November 30. Trudeau said, “Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest.”  

Adding that Canadians believe in the importance of dialogue, the Prime Minister revealed that they have reached the multiple means to highlight their concerns to the Indian government. He made the statement right at the very beginning of his address after welcoming the Sikh members of his cabinet.  

This follows a series of tweets made by elected officials across the political spectrum, including the rightwing Conservatives and leftwing New Democrats, besides Trudeau’s own Liberal party, and protests held across Canada in solidarity with the agitating farmers who were assaulted by the police in New Delhi.  

Among those in attendance during the virtual celebration of Gurpurab were Surrey MPs Sukh Dhaliwal and Randeep Singh Sarai. Both of them had previously expressed their outrage on social media over the police repression of farmers. More than 300 people, including community leaders from all over Canada attended the remote event held because of Covid-19 restrictions.  

The intensity of the ongoing demonstrations in India was such that many elected officials of Indian origin and those representing ridings with sizable South Asian population were forced to make statements on Twitter or Facebook.   

This is the first time that Trudeau has made a strong public statement against state violence which has grown under the current rightwing Hindutva nationalist government in India. Attacks on religious minorities and political dissidents have increased ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014. Trudeau has mostly remained silent about these developments until now.   

Police in New Delhi have been harassing Punjab farmers who are camping in the city along with farmers of other Indian states to register their peaceful protest against recent controversial bills introduced by the government. These measures are aimed at rolling back subsidies given to the farmers as India remains an agro-based economy. The bills were pushed through without due consultations causing anxiety in the farming community. There were not only attempts to prevent Punjab farmers from entering the capital, but they were brutally assaulted by Delhi police. Those at the receiving end included seniors.   


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