People have a right to demonstrate peacefully and authorities should let them do so, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said on the farmers’ protests in India.
India has called the remarks by foreign leaders on protests by farmers “ill-informed” and “unwarranted”, as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
“As to the question of India, what I would say to you is what I’ve said to others when raising these issues (which) is that people have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and authorities need to let them do so,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on Friday.
Mr Dujarric was responding to a question on the farmers’ protest in India.
Reacting to the comments by foreign leaders, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Tuesday said, “We have seen some ill-informed comments relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country.”
In a terse message, the ministry said further that “it is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.”
On Friday, India summoned the Canadian High Commissioner and told him that the comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in his Cabinet on the farmers’ protest constituted an “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs and these actions, if continued, will have a “seriously damaging” impact on bilateral ties.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for the last nine days at the borders of Delhi against three farm laws. Dubbing these laws as “anti-farmer”, these farmers claim that the newly-enacted legislations would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
The government and the farmers’ unions held the fifth round of talks on the new farm laws today.