A day after a wave of foreign celebrities created a flutter on twitter supporting the farmers’ protest in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extolled the crop growers terming them as ‘Atmanirbhar’ and highlighting their contribution to the country’s democracy. This comes in the wake of record agricultural produce that India has registered during the pandemic times.
“Farmers have been behind the progress of the country. They also played an important role in the Chauri Chaura struggle. In the last six years, steps have been taken to make farmers self-reliant. As a result of this, the agriculture sector has grown even during the pandemic,” PM Modi said.
In the backdrop of the agitation and chaos owing to the protest, the government highlighted measures for farmers’ growth, with PM Modi saying that “We have taken several steps in the interest of farmers. To make mandis profitable for farmers, 1,000 more mandis will be linked to e-NAM.”
The twitter wave commenced with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau commenting that he “will always stand up for the right of peaceful protests.” This was followed by a tweet from Sikh Council UK which said, “Political leaders should stand alongside Justin Trudeau to oppose human rights violations by the Indian authorities & not bow to bullying.” Owing to such ill-informed comments, the Government of India reacted sharply saying that these comments mark an unacceptable interference in India’s internal affairs.
The 18-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted: “We stand in solidarity with the Farmers Protest in India.” The tweet was both supported and criticized by sections within the country. Author Meena Harris, niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, also tweeted saying, “We all should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters.”
The tweets elicited sharp reactions from India. Home Minister Amit Shah who tweeted, “No propaganda can deter India’s unity! No propaganda can stop India to attain new heights! Propaganda cannot decide India’s fate only ‘Progress’ can. India stands united and together to achieve progress. #IndiaAgainstPropaganda #IndiaTogether.”
“Motivated campaigns targeting India will never succeed. We have the self confidence today to hold our own. This India will push back,” India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishanakar said on Twitter.
“This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilized society everywhere. We would like to emphasize 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”, said India’s external affairs ministry in a statement.
The Government reiterated that the legislation has been passed after a thorough discussion to provide greater flexibility to farmers and an increased market access which also paves the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming.
(Palak Chhabra contributed inputs for this article)
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