Rihanna creates flutter in India with tweet on farmer protests
Kathmandu : Rihanna, the pop superstar from the United States, has created a flutter in India by wading into months-long farmer protests against new farm laws passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Tens of thousands of young and old farmers have blocked roads leading into New Delhi for more than two months, sheltering in tractors from the cold, to demand the repeal of three laws passed in September last year, which farmers say will destroy their livelihoods by bringing India’s vast agricultural sector under corporate control.
A tractor rally by farmers last week in New Delhi turned violent, killing one and wounding hundreds, including police officers.
Police responded by shutting down the internet, digging ditches, driving nails into roads and topping barricades with razor wire to prevent farmers from entering the capital again.
“Why aren’t we talking about this?!” Rihanna said in a Twitter post, sharing a CNN network’s article on the demonstrations with her 100.9 million followers on the platform, using the hashtag #FarmersProtest.
It was not immediately clear what led Rihanna, whose songs have done well in India, to suddenly tweet on the subject.
A couple of hours after Rihanna’s tweet, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg also posted the same CNN article, expressing solidarity with India’s protesting farmers.
“We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” Thunberg tweeted to her 4.6 million followers.
Human Rights Watch also tweeted Rihanna, saying the government of Prime Minister Modi is “presiding over a dangerous regression in free speech rights in pursuit of its Hindu nationalist agenda”.
“Increasingly in Modi’s India, independent institutions including investigators, prosecutors, and the courts, which should be impartially defending rights, are instead protecting government supporters and targeting its critics,” the rights group said in a statement on Tuesday.
Also to tweet her solidarity with the protesting Indian farmers was American lawyer and author Meena Harris, who is also the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris.
“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,” the 36-year-old tweeted, with a photo of women protesters.
Source : Agency