Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov 30 extended his support for the agitating farmers of India. Thus, he became the first leader from outside India to comment on the issue.
India has reacted sharply to his statement. The ministry of external affairs in a statement said: “We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. These are unwarranted especially when pertaining to internal affairs of a democratic country. It’s also best that diplomatic conversations aren’t misrepresented for political purposes.”
On the other hand, Shiv Sena has strongly objected to his remarks and dubbed it as an interference in the internal affairs of India.
In his message on the occasion of Gurpurab, that is Guru Nanak Jayanti, Trudeau said that his country always stands for the right to peaceful protest and is concerned over what is happening in India as Canada has a large Sikh population. “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 rights of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said at an online event.
When Trudeau came to India in February 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t meet him. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh agreed to meet him in Amritsar but also raised the issue of Canada’s support for Khalistanis. It must be noted that 18 Sikhs got elected in Canadian Parliamentary election last year. The strength of the House of Commons is 338.
Thus the number of Sikhs in the Canadian Parliament is five more than in Indian Lok Sabha. Harjit Sajjan is the Defence Minister of the country. Plus, there are three other Sikh ministers in the Trudeau cabinet. Sikhs account for 1.4 % (about five lakh) of Canada’s population. In last year’s parliamentary election in Canada, the Liberal Party of Trudeau accused India of supporting the opposition Conservative Party.
Curiously, Trudeau’s party got support of the 24 MP New Democratic Party headed by Jagmeet Singh as the Liberal Party could win only 157 seats in the House of 338. Jagmeet has also supported the cause of Indian farmers.
Meanwhile Labour MP from England Tanmanjeet Singh has also extended support to the protesting farmers.