A Twitter frenzy broke out when American pop singer Rihanna on Tuesday night posted a news on India's farmers' protest and tweeted, "why aren't we talking about this?!" This was followed by Greta Thunberg, the celebrity teenager famous for her environmental activism, tweeting, "We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India." And now Lebanese-American former adult star Mia Khalifa has extended support to the ongoing farmers' protest in India.
"What in the human rights violations is going on?! They cut the internet around New Delhi?! #FarmersProtest," Mia tweeted. In a separate tweet, sharing a photograph of protesting farmers, she wrote, "Paid actors, huh? Quite the casting director, I hope they're not overlooked during awards season. I stand with the farmers. #FarmersProtest."
Meena Harris, niece of US Vice President Kamala 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."
American vlogger Amanda Cerny, who is also known for being Jacqueline Fernandez's doppleganger, has also supported the protest. "The world is watching. You don't have to be Indian or Punjabi or South Asian to understand the issue. All you have to do is care about humanity. Always demand freedom of speech, freedom of press, basic human and civil rights-equity and dignity for workers," she wrote on Instagram while sharing a black and white picture of the farmers.
While their tweets got hundreds of likes and retweets from around the world, thousands of Indians including Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut trolled all of them. It triggered widespread outrage from Indians questioning Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris, Mia Khalifa and Amanda Cerny's credentials and knowledge about India's internal matters.
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In the meantime, the ministry of external affairs issued a statement lashing out at them. "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 statement said.
The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector, the government explained. "These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming."
The government said that a very small section of farmers in parts of India has some reservations about these reforms. "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 eleven rounds of talks have already 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."
The ministry said, "Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India's Republic Day. A cherished national commemoration, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism took place in the Indian capital."
"Some of these vested interest groups have also tried 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," the government said.
Indian police forces have handled these 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.
"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 government said.
(With IANS Inputs)
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