Indian government slams Rihanna and Greta Thunberg's tweets on Indian farmers' protests

Feb 04, 2021 00:14

India accuses “foreign individuals” and celebrities of “sensationalism” after tweet by pop star Rihanna, extending support to protesting farmers
- BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 3, 2021

Rihanna posted on Twitter about increasingly tense protests by Indian farmers against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. These protests are currently in their third month, and involve contentious changes to agricultural laws that many of the country's farmers (who mostly possess their own, very limited land holdings) fear will leave them vulnerable to more volatile free market forces. Modi is offering to suspend the laws, but the protesting farmers are arguing for a complete repeal.

The protests have escalated over the past few weeks, including a tractor rally that led to a protestor's death as well as the suspension of mobile internet services where the protests were happening. It was specifically this latter incident that Rihanna then tweeted about. This led to both Rihanna and #FarmersProtest trending worldwide.

why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest
- Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021

India's Ministry of External Affairs released a statement claiming that "The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible."

Other celebrities that have spoken out include climate activist Greta Thunberg and comedian Lilly Singh.

We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.
- Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 2, 2021

Yes! Thank you so much @rihanna. This is a humanity issue! #IStandWithFarmers and this narrative is TIRED. ❤️
- Lilly // #LateWithLilly (@Lilly) February 2, 2021

The BBC notes that:

'There were many who also criticised the singer for wading into the protests against the laws that have been defended by the government and its supporters.

Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), posted a message quoting the tweet.

"No one is talking about it because they are not farmers, they are terrorists who are trying to divide India," she wrote.'

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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