Hours after pop star singer Rihanna, climate activist Greta Thunberg, and US vice-president Kamala Harris’s niece lawyer Meena Harris posted tweets on the farmers protests in India, the Ministry of External Affairs has put out a statement saying that comments by celebrities tweeting on the issue were “neither accurate nor responsible”.
“It was unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26,” the ministry said as it called out the “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments”.
“Some of these vested interest groups have 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,” it said.
Singer Rihanna had on Tuesday tweeted a CNN article on the farmers protests in India asking, “why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”. This was followed by tweets from Thunberg, Harris and former porn star Mia Khalifa.
The MEA statement said, “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 that “very small section of farmers in parts of India have some reservations about these reforms”.
Several ministers also took to Twitter and said the reactions from foreign celebrities were part of an international conspiracy to defame India.
“For 1000 of years India was defeated, occupied, looted & ruled by the invaders not because India was weak but there was always a Jaichand. We need to ask who’s behind this international propaganda to defame India,” Union minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, adding the hashtag ‘India Against Propaganda’.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also tweeted with the same hashtag.
Farmers have been protesting against the farm laws and several rounds of talks with the government have failed to solve the impasse. The statement highlighted that the government has been part of the talks and negotiations.
“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 Ministry of External affairs also said that the farm laws were passed after debate and discussion in Parliament. “These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming,” it said.