NEW DELHI: It took only one tweet from Rihanna to anger the Indian authorities and supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s occasion. The pop star linked a information article in a tweet drawing consideration to the large farmer protests which have gripped India for greater than two months.
Now, senior authorities ministers, Indian celebrities and even the overseas ministry are urging folks to return collectively and denounce outsiders who attempt to break the nation.
“It is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them,” India’s overseas ministry stated in a uncommon assertion on Wednesday (Feb 3), with out naming Rihanna and others who adopted her go well with.
- READ: Commentary: India has liberalised its farm sector. But not everyone is happy with it
- READ: Indian journalists accused of sedition over protest reporting
- READ: India’s Modi breaks silence on months-long protests by farmers
- READ: Commentary: What the farmer protest in India shows about its democracy
Tens of 1000’s of farmers have been hunkering down on the Indian capital’s fringes to protest new agricultural legal guidelines they are saying will depart them poorer and on the mercy of companies. The protests are posing a serious problem to Modi who has billed the legal guidelines as essential to modernise Indian farming.
Their largely peaceable protests turned violent on Jan 26, India’s Republic Day, when a bit of the tens of 1000’s of farmers using tractors veered from the protest route earlier determined with police and stormed the seventeenth century Red Fort in a dramatic escalation. Hundreds of law enforcement officials have been injured and a protester died. Scores of farmers have been additionally injured however officers haven’t given their numbers.
Farmer leaders condemned the violence however stated they’d not name off the protest.
Since then, authorities have closely elevated safety at protest websites exterior New Delhi’s border, including iron spikes and metal barricades to cease demonstrating farmers from getting into the capital. The authorities had additionally restricted entry to cellular web at protest websites up till Tuesday night.
The newest controversy began on Tuesday when Rihanna tweeted to her greater than 101 million Twitter followers: “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” She linked to a CNN information report about India blocking web companies on the protest websites, a favoured tactic of the Modi authorities to thwart protests.
Soon, worldwide condemnation from human rights teams and outrage from Indian supporters of Modi’s occasion adopted.
Then India’s overseas ministry accused “foreign individuals” and celebrities of “sensationalism”. The ministry’s assertion didn’t, nonetheless, identify Rihanna.
Teenage local weather activist Greta Thunberg and the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris, have been amongst others who then tweeted their assist, and a social media storm quickly adopted.
Bollywood entertainers and sports activities stars, a lot of whom have lengthy been silent on the farmer protests and are recognized to toe the federal government’s line, tweeted in a single voice.
They used hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaCollectively, echoing the federal government’s stand on the agriculture legal guidelines and requested folks exterior India to not meddle with their nation’s affairs.
Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, a supporter of Modi’s occasion, posted a message quoting Rihanna’s tweet.
“No one is talking about it because they are not farmers, they are terrorists who are trying to divide India,” she wrote.
Rihanna’s and Thunberg’s tweets additionally prompted responses from virtually each senior chief of Modi’s occasion, together with Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Home Minister Amit Shah, who stated that “no propaganda can deter India’s unity”.
Negotiations have failed, with the federal government proposing modifications however not assembly the farmers’ calls for for a full repeal.