Geneva: The government has shown the utmost respect for protests by farmers and has remained engaged in dialogue with them to address their concerns pertaining to the farm laws, said India on Friday.
Speaking at the General Debate on Oral Update of the High Commissioner at the 46th Session of Human Rights Council, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Permanent Representative of India, said that the India has set a goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2024. The purpose of enacting three Farm Acts is to enable farmers to realise better price for their produce and enhance their income.
“The Government of India has set a goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2024. The purpose of enacting three Farm Acts is to enable farmers to realise better price for their produce and enhance their income. It will particularly benefit small farmers and offer more choices to those farmers who opt for them. The Government has shown utmost respect for protests by farmers and has remained engaged in dialogue with them to address their concerns,” Pandey said.
The envoy pointed out the constitutional changes in the status of Jammu and Kashmir made by Parliament in August 2019 was a “historic decision” that has been welcomed by the people of India, including people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“It has given impetus to socio-economic development, end decades of discrimination and combat cross border terrorism, which has been the key hindrance in full enjoyment of human rights by the people. We have restored grassroots democracy, through District Development Council (DDC) elections, and provided good governance through the ‘Back to Village’ initiative,” he added.
He stated there has been a significant decline in terrorist attacks and progressive national laws have been extended to Jammu and Kashmir to enable the people there to enjoy the same rights as the people in rest of India.
India’s response comes as Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that charges of sedition against journalists and activists for reporting or commenting on the farmer’s protests, and attempts to curb freedom of expression on social media, are “disturbing departures from essential human rights principles.”
Pandey called the remarks “lacking” in “objectivity and impartiality”.
“Given these developments, we were perplexed to note some of the comments by the High Commissioner. She appeared as oblivious of the enormous efforts made by my Government to address the challenges, as indeed of many of the factors driving these challenges,” the envoy said.
“The unprovoked violence on our Republic Day in the name of farmers’ rights, apparently, left her unmoved. Her indifference to terrorism is, of course, not new. Objectivity and impartiality have to be the hallmarks of any Human Rights assessment. We are sorry to see that the High Commissioner’s oral update is lacking in both,” he added.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers, from the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the newly enacted three farm laws.