The UN Human Rights office on Friday called for “maximum restraint” by both the agitating farmers and the Government of India during the ongoing farmers’ protest against the laws that aim at reforming the agriculture sector in the country, freeing the crop producers from middlemen-infested government wholesale markets.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in a tweet, said the rights to peaceful assembly and expression should be protected both offline and online.
Stressing that it is crucial to find “equitable solutions” with due respect to human rights for all, the UN Human Rights’s official Twitter handle wrote, “#India: We call on the authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint in ongoing #FarmersProtests. The rights to peaceful assembly & expression should be protected both offline & online. It’s crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to #HumanRights for all.”
The UN Human Rights tweet comes days after international celebrities like Rihanna, a toolkit-sharing Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, former actress in pornographic movies Mia Khalifa, US Vice-President Kamala Harris’s niece Meena Harris and several others came out in support of the farmers’ protest in the country.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — for more than 70 days, demanding a complete repeal of three contentious farm laws.
They argue without proof that the newly-enacted farm laws would weaken the mandi system and favour corporate giants. They also demand a legal guarantee for the minimum support price procurement system not only by the state but also by private buyers, failing which, they say, even private buyers must be prosecuted and jailed!
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting the farm laws, on Friday said there would be no ‘chakka jam’ in Delhi on February 6 even as it asserted that peasants in other parts of the country will block national and state highways for three hours but in a peaceful way.
The SKM had earlier this week announced this nationwide chakka jam on Saturday, saying that farmers would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
Multiple rounds of talks between the government and the farmer unions have remained deadlocked. The protests at the Delhi borders for the repeal of the three contentious farm laws that the government enacted in September 2020 — even as many of the provisions thereof were already in vogue for six odd months prior to the new legislation as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi — began on 26 November.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said any protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the ongoing efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse.
“The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector. These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming,” the MEA had said in a statement on Wednesday.
In a strong response to the remarks made by foreign individuals and entities, the MEA on Wednesday said the “temptation” of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments is “neither accurate nor responsible”.