Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been trying for more than a week to encircle the capital New Delhi in protest at new laws on farm produce trading

New Delhi has passed reforms that enable farmers to sell produce anywhere in India and avoid state-run markets. The protests are led by farmers from Punjab, an Indian state which accounts for many migrants in Canada.

The Enforcement Directorate of India is investigating the Hawala network, operating in the state of Punjab the based on Canadian handlers. This Hawala money is allegedly being funded in some portion of the farmers' protest. 

India has called the remarks by foreign leaders and politicians on protests by farmers as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted" as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support for farmer protest is part of a political strategy and is hypocritical.

In Ottawa on Friday, Trudeau told reporters: "Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protests and human rights anywhere around the world." He added he was "pleased to see moves towards de-escalation and dialogue" between farmers and the Indian government.

Value of Sikh Votes

Sikhs are the dominant ethnic group in the eight seats of the House of Commons in Canada, as well as a significant minority group in 15 other seats where they can change the polling equation.

Trudeau’s track record on Sikh issues has been a concern for India earlier, as he behaves in an immature manner for the sake of his political interest by ignoring radicalism.

His delegation, during the state visit in 2018, included Jaspal Atwal, who was convicted for attempting to murder Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu.

Therefore, due to Trudeau’s immaturity, he was given a cold shoulder by the Indian government during his visit when PM Narendra Modi did not go to receive him personally, and instead sent then minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Canada’s Hypocrisy

Canada is that it has consistently opposed India on agricultural issues at the World Trade Organization (WTO). It challenged India at WTO meetings when it sought to defend its agricultural programmes like the minimum support price (MSP) for staple crops such as rice, wheat and pulses.

In July this year, Canada had questioned India on exceeding the permitted limit on food subsidies given for rice production — also called de minimis levels under WTO norms — to farmers in 2018-19. The de minimis level is determined as 10 per cent of the value of food production.

Canada had also sent 25 questions to India with regard to its farm subsidy and also explained the impact of such food subsidies on global agricultural trade.

Subsequently, in September, a slew of questions were posed to India by Canada and other developed nations regarding its multiple agriculture policies.

The Indian farmers are demanding what Trudeau’s government is opposing at WTO.