A day after international pop star Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg drew attention and offered support to the farmers’ protest, Indian politicians, Bollywood stars and cricketers responded by condemning their social media posts and putting out tweets with the hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether.
On 2 February, Rihanna, using the hashtag #FarmersProtest, tweeted:
Soon, activist Greta Thunberg tweeted:
Following their tweets, the Ministry of External Affairs on 3 February said it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on the protests and derail them.
The detailed MEA statement noted that the Parliament of India, only after a ‘full debate and discussion’ had passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector.
Hours after the MEA statement, a number of politicians put out social media posts condemning Rihanna and Thunberg’s tweets:
Amit Shah tweeted:
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted:
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharman tweeted:
Rihanna’s tweet didn’t go down well with actor Kangana Ranaut:
A number of other Bollywood celebrities joined the chorus on either side on social media. The first set comprised those who support the government. They said that citizens should focus on the government’s efforts to resolve the crisis. Sharing the MEA statement on Twitter, actor Akshay Kumar tweeted:
Ajay Devgn urged people to be wary of “false propaganda against India or Indian policies”.
Taking to Twitter on 3 February, the batting maestro urged the citizens to shift their focus on the efforts made by the Indian government and opined that external forces can be spectators but not participants. “India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let’s remain united as a nation,” Tendulkar said in a tweet.
Indian head coach Ravi Shastri, skipper Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma also posted tweets on the ‘IndiaAgainstPropaganda’ trend on social media. “Agriculture is a very important part of the machinery of the Indian economic system. Farmers are the backbone of any country’s ecosystem. This is an internal matter which I’m sure will be resolved through dialogue. Jai Hind!,” Shastri said in a tweet.
Others, however, remained supportive. A number of celebrities and personalities from around the world added their two bits to the tweets of Rihanna and Greta.
Actress-model Shibani Dandekar came out in support to Rihanna’s tweet by sharing it in her Instagram story. Celebrities such as like Richa Chadha and Hansal Mehta chimed in.
A number of celebrities and personalities from around the world added their two bits to Rihanna and Greta’s posts.
Mia Khalifa, who featured formerly in pornography, questioned the internet ban in the satellite townships around Delhi.
Meena Harris, the niece of US vice-president Kamala Harris took to Twitter to express outrage over the internet shutdowns:
Just a day ago, the niece of Kamala Harris had reduced herself to a butt of jokes when she damned the very people she wished to support by likening them to the rioters at Capitol Hill.
Taapsee Pannu chose to mock the patriotic lot. Appearing to be on the side of the ilk of Greta Thunberg, she posted on Twitter: “If one tweet rattles your unity, one joke rattles your faith or one show rattles your religious belief then it’s you who has to work on strengthening your value system not become ‘propaganda teacher’ for others.”