Protests in India should be seen in context of country’s democratic ethos, polity: MEA

New Delhi [India], February 4 (ANI): After several international celebrities commented on the ongoing farmers’ agitation, India on Thursday said that the protest should be “seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity”.
Speaking at the weekly virtual press briefing, Anurag Srivastava, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson, said the decision to restrict the internet access in the regions surrounding Delhi was taken to prevent any more violence. “Any protest must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity and the ongoing efforts of the government and concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” he said.
Replying to a question on India’s stance on the US over the farmers’ protest, Srivastava said, “We have taken note of the comments of the US State Department. It is important to take such comments in the context in which they are made and in their entirety.”
While reiterating that India and the US are both vibrant democracies with shared values, he said that the incidents of violence and vandalism at Red Fort on January 26 “evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the Capitol Hill incident on January 6”.
The incidents are being addressed as per the local laws, he said.
Speaking on the internet access that was restricted in certain areas on Delhi and its surrounding regions on January 26, the MEA Spokesperson said, “The temporary measures with regards to internet access in certain parts of the Delhi-NCR region were therefore understandably undertaken to prevent further violence.”
With regard to agricultural reforms, the MEA Spokesperson further said that the US has acknowledged India’s steps.
The United States has came out in support of India’s new farm laws, saying it welcomes steps that would “improve the efficiency” of Indian markets and attract greater private sector investment.
Reacting on the ongoing farm protests in India, a State Department spokesperson said that Washington recognizes that “peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy”, adding that differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in its statement, had earlier said that the government has passed the laws “after a full debate and discussion” and has “initiated a series of talks” to address the farmers’ issues.
The MEA also condemned celebrities, who have drawn attention to the farmers’ protest on social media.
The MEA’s response came after American pop star Rihanna extended support to the farmers’ protest. “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”, Rihanna tweeted on Tuesday, along with the hashtag ‘#FarmersProtest’.
Soon after Rihanna’s tweet, several other prominent international celebrities and activists including Jay Sean, Amanda Cerny, Lilly Singh, and Greta Thunberg came out in support of the farmers.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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