Ontario: Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, backing Indian farmers who have intensified their agitation against the new farm laws, noting that the situation is "concerning".
Trudeau’s remarks came as he participated in a Facebook video interaction organised by Canadian MP Bardish Chagger to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
In his opening remarks during the interaction, Trudeau said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t start also by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends.
“I know that’s 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 the importance of dialogue and that’s why we’ve reached out through multiple means directly to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns.”
Trudeau, 48, is the first world leader to comment on the farmers' protests.
Thousands of people from several states, including Punjab, are camped out on the outskirts of Delhi for a sixth straight day, in the biggest protest by farmers in years, demanding that they be allowed to stage protests in the city centre against the new laws that open up India's farm produce market. The farmers braved water cannons, tear gas and police barricades in the biting cold, as they tried to reach the national capital.
In a separate statement on Guru Nanak Jayanti, Trudeau said the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak was an important day for Sikh Canadians.
The Centre will on Tuesday hold talks with farmers in in an attempt to find a resolution to the massive protests. Sources say in talks with farmers, the government is likely to reassert that the three laws at the core of the protests will not be taken back. However, the government will reassure farmers on Minimum Support Price and government markets or mandis.