Referring to farmers as 'backbone' of the country’s economy, defence minister Rajnath Singh on December 30 disapproved of terms like "Naxals" and "Khalistanis" used for protesting farmers by many BJP leaders.
“I have no information about such allegations. No one should use terms like these against farmers. We express our deepest respect towards our farmers. Our heads bow in respect towards our farmers. They are our 'annadatas' (food providers,” Singh said in an interview to news agency ANI.
The defence minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he were pained by farmers holding demonstrations and government was striving to increase the income of the farming community. He said that the farm laws have been made in the interest of farmers and the protesting farmers should see the implementation for two years.
“In the time of economic recession, the farmers have borne the responsibility of taking the economy out of trouble. They are the economy's backbone. They have taken the country out of troubled waters on several occasions," Singh said.
Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri -- for more than a month, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP.
Many BJP leaders including general secretary Tarun Chugh have used terms like ‘Khalistani’ and ‘Urban Naxals’ while referring to the ongoing protest by farmers against the new laws.
Follow LIVE UPDATES on Farmers' Protest here
Singh also made a strong objection to the remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month concerning farmers' protest and said no leader of a country should speak about India's internal affairs.
"First of all, I would like to say about the prime minister of any country that comment should not be made about India's internal affairs. India does not require any outside interference. We will sort out issues by ourselves. It is an internal matter of India. No country in the world has the right to comment on India's internal affairs," he said in the interview.
He went on to praise the Sikh community for their sacrifices in protecting the culture of India. “Whenever the country has went through an economic recession, it has been only farmers who have helped in controlling the economy. Farmers are the backbone of our nation's economy,” he said.
On farmers’ demands Singh said, “The government has repeatedly said that Minimum Support Price will continue.”Read more about Moneycontrol's coverage about Farmers' Protest here