Pop icon Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg created a storm on social media on Tuesday night by “extending support” to the ongoing farmers’ agitation, forcing the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi to thrash these vested interest groups “trying to mobilise international support against India.”
“Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere,” ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ministry said that the comments of the celebrities were “neither accurate nor responsible”, adding that the protests were by “a very small section of farmers” in parts of India.
Earlier, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg extended her support to the farmers’ protest at Delhi borders against the controversial agricultural laws.
“We stand in solidarity with #farmersprotest in India”, Thunberg tweeted late on Tuesday night.
The teen activist’s tweet came hours after international pop icon Rihanna shared a news article that highlighted the government’s latest crackdown on the agitating farmers by cutting off internet services in many regions.
“Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest,” tweeted the ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ singer. Within hours of her tweet, the singer gained another 1 lakh followers in the 100 million-plus Twitter fan-following.
Ever since Rihanna’s tweet went viral, there has been an outpouring of support from celebrities for the farmer protests.
US Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece Meena Harris also showed her support. “It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault. This is related. We all should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters,” she tweeted.
US Congressman Jim Costa, a Democrat, used the hashtag posted by Rihanna – #FarmersProtest- and underlined he was “closely monitoring the situation”. “The unfolding events in India are troubling. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am closely monitoring the situation. The right to peaceful protest must always be respected. #FarmersProtest (sic),” his post on microblogging site read.
Soon, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement warning against the “temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments” about the government’s new agricultural laws.
“We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” the statement added. “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.”