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Thursday, March 04, 2021

‘Sensationalist’: MEA slams Rihanna, Greta tweets; farmer unions welcome int’l support

In a detailed statement, the MEA said the Parliament of India, only after a full debate and discussion, had passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 3, 2021 10:27:26 pm
Farmers attempt to break police barricade as march towards Delhi near Nangloi on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Slamming foreign individuals and entities for comments on the ongoing farmer protests, the Ministry of External Affairs Wednesday said it is “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.”

In a detailed statement, the MEA said that the Parliament of India only after a “full debate and discussion” had passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector.

Defending the three contentious farm laws, the MEA said the reforms intend to give expanded market access and provide greater flexibility to farmers. “They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming,” the MEA statement read.

Asserting that only a very small section of farmers have some reservations regarding the reforms, it said, the Government of India has “initiated a series of talks with their representatives respecting the sentiments of the protestors.”

It added that Union Ministers have been part of the negotiations, and eleven rounds of talks have already been held.

“The Government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India,” the MEA statement further said.

The MEA response came after international pop singer Rihana and enviornmental activit Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg extended support to the farmers protest. Soon after Rihanna tweeted about the protest in India, several other prominent international celebrities and activists have also extended their support to the farmer-led movement against the Centre’s contentious new farm laws. “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”, Rihanna tweeted on Tuesday, along with the hashtag ‘#FarmersProtest’.

 

Further on, the MEA stated that although the government had offered to put the reforms on hold, it is “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.” “This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India’s Republic Day. A cherished national commemoration, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism took place in the Indian capital,” it said.

It said that some of these vested interest groups also tried to mobilise international support against India while adding that , Mahatma Gandhi statues were desecrated in parts of the world after being instigated by such fringe elements. “This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere.”

Commending the security forces, the government said the Indian police forces showed utmost restraint in handling the protests. It also noted that hundreds of police officials, both men and women were attacked – some stabbed while others seriously injured.

The MEA, in its statement, further emphasised 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 also urged the concerned foreign entities to ascertain facts and gain a proper understanding of the issues before making any comment. “The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the statement concluded.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha welcomes support by international personalities

Meanwhile, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha acknowledged the support of international personalities towards the ongoing farmers’ movement in India. “On the one hand, it is a matter of pride that eminent personalities of the world are showing sensitivity towards the cause of farmers, while on the other hand, it is unfortunate that the Government of India is not understanding the pain of the farmers and some people are even calling peaceful farmers as terrorists,” Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal said in a statement.

The farmers’ body also extended support to the one day strike of electricity workers across the country. “We strongly oppose the privatization of electricity sector. The Draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 is an attack on farmers as well as other citizens,” the statement read.

“The farmer movement is getting stronger day by day. After heavy support in Kisan Mahapanchayats in Uttar Pradesh, farmers have organized Mahapanchayats in Dabra and Phulbagh in Madhya Pradesh, Mehndipur in Rajasthan and Jind in Haryana. A large number of farmers will be coming to Delhi in the coming days,” the statement read.

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