The Indian government and its supporters have strongly warned foreign celebrities that are interfering in its internal affair to keep away amid the growing wave of protests by Indian farmers demonstrating against the new agricultural laws that threaten their means of livelihood.
Among the list of foreign celebrities to have supported Indian farmers in their fight against the government include Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, NBC News reports. They made series of tweets highlighting the situation of the farmers and calling on other public figures to speak up.
However, no sooner had their tweets gone out than the unexpected backlash from Indian celebrities who warned all foreign interferences in the internal affairs of India to cease forthwith.
Last year, the Indian government promulgated into law some agricultural policies that they insisted promoted foreign direct investment in the sector and promoted the use of ultra-modern machinery in a sector that has largely adopted a subsistence method of farming. But millions of small-time farmers in the country decried the move, saying that the new laws were against their interests and left them at the mercy of the big companies.
For months now, protests have been ongoing by farmers asking the government to rescind the laws.
Rihanna started the Indian farmers’ conversation when she asked to know why a lot of people, especially celebrities like herself, weren’t creating awareness about the situation in India. She didn’t have to wait long to garner support as other celebrities such as Greta Thunberg among a host of others joined her to express support for the farmers. NFL star John “Juju” Smith-Schuster, who also expressed support for the farmers, said he had donated $10,000 to aid in medical emergencies during the protests, NY Post wrote.
Indian foreign ministry was quick to react to the growing support from foreign celebrities. On Wednesday, the ministry released a statement condemning groups with hidden interests trying to force their agenda on the farmers. While the statement was not directed at any group, it was a veiled swipe at international celebrities who were using social media to promote the cause of the farmers.
Bollywood and sports stars in India were also having none of the supposed support from international celebrities, asking that external forces should stay away from the domestic affairs of India. The tweets from the Indian celebrities supporting the government used hashtags promoted by the foreign ministry.
Clashes between the police and the police turned violent late last month when on Indian Republic Day, farmers stormed the capital in a move that left many injured. The authorities reacted by beefing up security at various protest sites and setting up barricades manned by fierce-looking security officers.
In a new development, the Indian police said it was investigating a toolkit used by Greta Thunberg after the eco-activist accidentally shared a couple of tweets that outlined suggested posts regarding the protests. In the now-deleted tweets, Thunberg was given a list of things to post about and other celebrities to tag. The police commissioner in New Delhi confirmed that the creators of the toolkit were under investigation.
While Indian’s Supreme Court has ruled on an immediate halt to the implementation of the agricultural laws, the farmers are yet to be placated, insisting that the laws be scrapped altogether.