Farmers Protest: India reacts to tweets by Rihanna, Greta Thunberg supporting farmers

"The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," the MEA stated.


(PHOTO: Facebook)

The Indian Government on Wednesday hit out at foreign individuals and entities drawing international attention to the ongoing farmers' protest with their tweets, saying  it is "unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them."

The External Affairs Ministry (MEA) warned against the "temptation of sensationalist' social media hashtags and comments and said that the protests were by "a very small section of farmers in parts of India."

The MEA said in a statement, "Respecting the sentiments of the protesters, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union ministers have been part of the negotiations, and 11 rounds of talks have been held. The Government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India."

Defending the three farm laws, the MEA stated that reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector was passed by  Parliament of India after a full debate and discussion.

"These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming," the MEA stated.

The MEA said that Indian police forces have handled the protests with utmost restraint. 

"It may be noted that hundreds of men and women serving in the police have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded," the MEA said in its statement.

The MEA stressed that the 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.

"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. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," the MEA stated.

The MEA response comes after international pop star Rihanna and climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg came out in support of the farmers protest.

"Why aren’t we talking about this?!" Singer Rihanna, one of the most followed Twitter users, tweeted on Tuesday using the hashtag  #FarmersProtest along with a news about the internet suspension.

Following Rihanna's tweet about the farmers' protest in India, several other prominent international celebrities and activists came out in support of the farmers movement.

"We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India," Greta posted on Twitter.

US Vice President Kamala Harris's niece Meena Harris also tweeted, "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."

First Published:Feb. 3, 2021, 4:01 p.m.

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