Canada oppn MPs put pressure on PM to condemn ‘police brutality’ on Indian farmers | World News - Hindustan Times
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Canada oppn MPs put pressure on PM to condemn ‘police brutality’ on Indian farmers

ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan
Jan 31, 2021 12:08 PM IST

Leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) Jagmeet Singh has started a petition campaign on his party’s official website, which reads: “The Indian government’s use of violence on farmers protesting mass privatisation of the agricultural sector is appalling.”

Some Canadian opposition MPs are putting pressure to get Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to address their “concerns” over the alleged “violence” and “police brutality” against protesting farmers in India.

Activists of farmers' unions raise slogans in Amritsar on January 30 as they observe fast in solidarity with the ongoing agitation against farm reforms. (PTI)
Activists of farmers' unions raise slogans in Amritsar on January 30 as they observe fast in solidarity with the ongoing agitation against farm reforms. (PTI)

Leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) Jagmeet Singh has started a petition campaign on his party’s official website, which reads: “The Indian government’s use of violence on farmers protesting mass privatisation of the agricultural sector is appalling.”

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“Instead of using water cannons, tear gas and violence, the Indian government needs to engage in open dialogue with farmers,” it adds. Singh also tweeted, “I am deeply concerned about the violence against farmers in India Those calling to harm farmers must be held accountable and the right to peaceful protest must be protected. I am calling on Justin Trudeau to condemn the violence, immediately.”

Indian officials pointed out that neither Singh nor groups like the World Sikh Organization (WSO) have raised the issue of attacks on police personnel on Republic Day or take into account that several rounds of talks between farmers’ group and the government have already taken place.

Former minister and Conservative Party MP Tim Uppal also joined the chorus, tweeting, “Shocking & disturbing images of police brutality out of Delhi towards farmers protesting.” He added, “I raise my voice with all those around the world calling for this brutality to end.”

With Canada’s parliament in session, there is concern among Indian diplomats that the government will be forced to respond, even as Trudeau and recently appointed foreign minister Marc Garneau have avoided the issue, after New Delhi reacted sharply to the Canadian PM’s earlier comments on the protests.

Trudeau had said in December during the course of a Facebook live event that “Canada will always be there to defend the right to 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.”

The Canadian government thereafter has maintained silence on the matter.

But Indian officials believe a coordinated campaign has started with “propaganda” by groups like the separatist outfit Sikhs for Justice, to have the issue raised in the House of Commons and elicit a response from the Canadian government.

Singh and Uppal’s remarks came soon after the WSO started a campaign to get “Sikh Canadians” to “express concern, ranging from attacks on Sikhs to the threatening of gurdwaras in Delhi.”

Other Indo-Canadian groups, though, responded to the charges. The Ottawa-based Overseas Friends of India Canada, replied to Uppal’s tweet, “What are you advocating - violence against the police? You are MP of Canada and should know better than to advocate violence against the police.”

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