On Friday, hours after the Ministry of External Affairs summoned the Canadian high commissioner to India over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments, PM Trudeau reiterated his support for peaceful protests although his comments earlier in the week on the ongoing farmers’ protests angered the Indian government.
“Canada will always stand up for the right to peaceful protest anywhere around the world. We are pleased to see moves towards de-escalation and dialogue,” Trudeau stated when asked about India’s reaction. Further, when asked whether his comments would damage ties with India, he reiterated, “Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protests and human rights around the world.”
Earlier while addressing a virtual Gurupurab celebration, Justin Trudeau expressed his concerns over the farmers’ protests. “I would be remiss if I didn’t’ start by recognizing the news coming out of India about the protests by farmers. The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about the families and friends. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right to peaceful protest. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we have reached out through multiple means to Indian authorities, to highlight our concerns.”
Subsequently, on Friday, Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel was told by the Ministry of External Affairs that “comments by the Canadian Prime Minister [Justin Trudeau], some cabinet ministers and members of [Canadian] parliament on issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs.”
The MEA said these comments by the Canadian leaders have encouraged “gatherings of extremist activities” in front of the Indian High Commission and consulates in Canada, raising issues of safety and security.
Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who is of Indian origin, too, had expressed concerns over reports of the “peaceful protesters being brutalized in India.”
“The reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized in India is very troubling. Many of my constituents have family 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,” tweeted Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan earlier in the week.