No foreign govt backing to farm agitation: Govt in Lok Sabha

MEA blames fringe groups for global social media storm; asks celebrities to ascertain facts before commenting

No foreign govt backing to farm agitation: Govt in Lok Sabha

Photo for representation purposes. PTI file

Sandeep Dikshit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3

The government on Wednesday said in the Lok Sabha that no foreign government has backed the agitation against the farm laws even as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement criticised some of west’s top entertainment stars who, it says, were swayed by vested interest groups who were also behind the Red Fort violence.

“No foreign government has supported the agitation against the farm Bills which were passed by Parliament. In Canada, UK, the US and in a few European countries, protests by a few motivated persons of Indian origin has been reported,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan told former journalist Imtiyaz Jaleel Syed (AIMIM) during Question Hour in Lok Sabha.

It admitted that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has spoken on the farmers’ agitation.

The MEA on the other hand took on private individuals and asked them to ascertain facts and get a proper understanding of the issues before rushing to comment on such matters.

“The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” said the MEA in a statement. 

It was unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them as was the case on January 26, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, which was “besmirched, and violence and vandalism” took place in the national capital.

The MEA said some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilise international support against India and instigated the desecration of Mahatma Gandhi’s statues in parts of the world. 

Also read: After Rihanna creates flutter over farmers tweet, Kangana calls her ‘fool’, farmers ‘terrorists’

“This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere,” it said. Some of them also tried to mobilise international support against India, added the MEA.

Parliament, after a full debate and discussion, passed legislation relating to the agricultural sector which will give expanded market access and provide greater flexibility to farmers. The laws will also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming, said the MEA, to counter teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s opinion. 

Also read: Rakesh Tikait emerges ‘hero’ of farmers’ agitation initiated by Punjab unions

It was a “very small section of farmers who have some reservations” about these reforms. Respecting their sentiments, the government has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union ministers have been part of the negotiations, and 11 rounds of talks have already been held.

Also read: Withdraw farm laws, don’t make it prestige issue: Azad tells govt in Rajya Sabha

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Also read: After Rihanna, Greta Thunberg and others make farmers' protest global

The government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the PM, it pointed out.

Commending the police for having handled the protests with utmost restraint, the MEA said it must be noted that hundreds of police men and women have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded.

“We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” it added.

Also read: Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai move SC against FIRs over R-Day violence

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