Amid the drama generated by the celebrities jumping into the social media circus on farmers’ protests two days ago, it is none other than the Biden Administration which have come out in support of Modi’s farm laws. While adding a sweetener to those looking to commit Modi to the political dustbins at the earliest possible opportunity that peaceful protests are an important tool in a thriving democracy, the Biden administration in the US has said it “welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment”.
The surprising support – massive for Modi government came as a surprise on Wednesday when answering a question on the ongoing farmers’ protests in India, a State Department official, said the US welcomes any steps governments take to improve Indian market efficiency and allow greater private sector investment opportunities for interested parties and would reform India’s agricultural sector.
NEW: State Department urges "dialogue" on #FarmersProtests in India, signals concern over blocked Internet access: "We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy." pic.twitter.com/qtCONfG1GX
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) February 3, 2021
The State Department spokesperson said:
“In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment.”
“We recognise that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same,” the official said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi issued a statement on Wednesday to highlight that Parliament had passed “reformist legislation” for the agricultural sector, which “a very small section of farmers” had some reservations about and, therefore, the laws had been kept on hold while talks are held.
Meanwhile, several American lawmakers – senators and congress persons – who have large Punjabi populations in their electorates have also made statements in support of the farmers’ protests in India.
The left questioned the MEA statement.
— Jyoti Malhotra (@jomalhotra) February 3, 2021
“I will continue to monitor this situation closely. It has been particularly valuable to engage with stakeholders across the district on this topic and I remain appreciative to all who have reached out to share their perspective,” Congresswoman Haley Stevens said.
Another Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, expressed solidarity with the farmers protesting for their livelihood across India.
“India must protect their basic democratic rights, allow for the free flow of information, reinstate internet access and release all the journalists detained for covering the protests,” she wrote on Twitter.
The US State Department’s statement would have earned the wrath of many in the US who have been busy condemning Modi government despite it showed remarkable restraint and administrative dexterity on January 26 dealing with the protestors who ran rampage on the streets of Delhi and Delhi’s Red Fort.
Many such people in the US are terming this politically staged protest as “historic”and ground breaking. Gurinder Singh Khalsa, chairman of the Sikhs Political Action Committee, said:
“This is the beginning of a movement for better accountability and transparency against crony capitalism. The world was watching and now it has started reacting and mobilising in support of this historic revolution of Indian farmers. This will be bigger than India’s freedom revolution.”
Farmers’ protests started in Punjab on an erroneous premise that these new farm laws would hurt each and every farmer in the country. They feared the minimum support price (MSP) was being abolished. MSP is governed separately under the APMC regime which is not within the purview of these new farm laws. Their protests started to extract a ‘guarantee’ from the Modi government for the minimum support price or the MSP which the government clarified was not being touched.
Farmers then moved to Delhi borders and persisted with their demand of MSP guarantee. Soon – sensing opportunity – all of the irrelevant leaders – mostly defeated at the last election joined hands and started leading the protests for the farmers. – That amplified the misinformation being disseminated. The list of demands by the farmers grew to more than 20 changes the main one being the MSP guarantee, following first four or five rounds of talks with the government.
And when the government finally accepted all of their demands – made an offer in writing and expected farm laws support and the protests to end.
That would not suit these new – self imposed leaders who now pushed for a total repeal of the new farm laws which actually will help the farmer. Hence the deadlock and the impasse and lack of farm laws support.
India strongly objected to remarks by foreigners as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted”, asserting that the matter pertains to the internal affairs of a democratic country. The MEA in its statement on Wednesday said some vested interest groups had tried to mobilise international support against the country.
“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken.
“The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the MEA statement said following some high-profile celebrities tweeting over the agitation by the farmers.
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