'Ascertain facts,' says MEA as global figures support farmers' protest
On Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) urged international icons to ascertain facts and understand the issue before commenting on matters pertaining to India. The sharp response came hours after pop star Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg extended support to the farmers' protest. Their tweets drew global attention to the agitation, that has been continuing since November. Here are more details.
Rihanna asked why internet shutdown wasn't being talked about
After managing to garner the support of farmers in different countries, the massive agitation against three agricultural reforms got a shout-out from Rihanna last evening. The 32-year-old shared a news article about internet suspension around New Delhi, with the question: "Why aren't we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest (sic)" Notably, Rihanna is the fourth-most followed user on Twitter — her follower count is 101 million.
The tweet, understandably, was shared thousands of times
Thunberg, Mia Khalifa, Kamala Harris's niece Meena also supported farmers
Thunberg's tweet came on the heels of Rihanna's. "We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India," wrote the 18-year-old Swedish activist. Meanwhile, adult film star Mia Khalifa tweeted, "What in the human rights violations is going on?! They cut the internet around New Delhi?!" Even Meena Harris, the niece of United States Vice-President Kamala Harris, called for more outrage over internet shutdowns.
'We all should be outraged'
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. https://t.co/yIvCWYQDD1 pic.twitter.com/DxWWhkemxW— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 2, 2021
Laws have Parliament's nod, reminded MEA in its statement
Just as the tweets triggered widespread conversations, MEA released a statement highlighting that the laws were passed after extensive discussions in the Parliament. The reforms would usher in a new era, MEA said, accepting that a section of farmers is indeed concerned. Respecting their statements, the government has held eleven rounds of talks and also offered to suspend the laws, the statement added.
'Groups with vested interests trying to enforce their agenda'
The MEA then expressed disappointment at the fact that vested groups attempted to derail the farmers' protests. "Some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilize international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi's statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilized society everywhere," the Ministry added.
MEA doesn't want celebrities to comment before knowing facts
Further, MEA said the agitation must be viewed in the "context of India's democratic ethos and polity" and the efforts launched to resolve the impasse. "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 note read. The temptation of "sensationalist social media hashtags" was also slammed.