India’s foreign ministry on Wednesday criticized international figures for their “sensationalist” interference in the country’s agricultural reform after tweets from Rihanna, 32, and Greta Thunberg, 18, went viral following protests by farmers.
“Why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest,” wrote pop star Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, while sharing a CNN report on internet shutdowns in New Delhi during the demonstrations by farmers last week.
The singer’s post has been retweeted over 230,000 times and received nearly 80,000 comments. Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, one of the world’s leading environmental activists, retweeted the same news and wrote: “We sympathize with #FarmersProtest in India”.
A niece of Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of Indian descent, also wrote on the subject. “We should all be outraged by the Internet blockages in India and the paramilitary violence against protesting farmers,” Meena Harris tweeted.
Since November 26, tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab (north), have demonstrated in camps on the main roads on the outskirts of New Delhi. Rural workers protest against reforms that liberalize agricultural markets and demand their complete repeal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government deplored the comments and called the protests “home affairs”.
In a statement issued Wednesday with the hashtags #IndiaTogether (United India) #IndiaAgainstPropaganda (India Against Propaganda), the Foreign Ministry asked that “before rushing to comment on these issues (…) challenges”.