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India alarmed at celebrities tweet to support farmers protest

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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In response to comments by pop singer Robyn Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, India Wednesday said criticism of the government's handling of the farmers' protests against three farm laws by foreign individuals was "neither accurate nor responsible."

A statement issued by the external affairs ministry claimed that "vested interest groups" are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests to derail them and said these groups have tried to mobilize global support against India. The statement also referred to "sensationalist social media hashtags and comments" by "celebrities and others" but didn't name anyone.

It is rare for the external affairs ministry to respond to tweets by foreign celebrities criticizing events within the country though it has, in recent weeks, pushed back against comments by leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and lawmakers in other countries supporting the farmers' protest, Hindustan Times said.

On Wednesday, 18-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who was the youngest person of the year named by Time magazine, tweeted: "We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India."

A day earlier, singer Rihanna triggered a storm by tweeting "Why aren't we talking about this? #FarmersProtest," along with a link to the same CNN article about the farmers' protest that was included in Thunberg's tweet.

Author Meena Harris, niece of US vice-president Kamala Harris, also tweeted about the farmers' protest. "We ALL should be outraged by India's internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters," she wrote.

Greta Thunberg effigies burned in Delhi

Pro Modi government protesters in Delhi Thursday burned effigies of the Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg.

Crowds gathered in Delhi to protest against the two international celebrities including Thunberg and the pop singer Robyn Rihanna, who angered the government after tweeting about the ongoing farmer protests this week. Photos of Thunberg and Rihanna were set alight and banners were held aloft warning that "international interference" in Indian affairs would not be tolerated.

Thunberg had tweeted a "toolkit" for people who wanted to show support for the farmers. The toolkit included campaigning tips such as suggested hashtags and advice on how to sign petitions.

Toolkit of Greta Thunberg

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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