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Friday, February 3, 2023

Rihanna’s reaction to India’s farmers’ protest sparks international outrage

The voices of the Indian farmers protesting in India are now being heard globally.

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Yesterday, US Vice President, Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris spoke up about the ongoing violence and human rights violations the protestors in India are facing for rejecting Modi’s new farm laws.

She wrote, “We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters.”

The voices of the Indian farmers protesting in India are now being heard globally.

The Modi government on Monday had cut off the internet service in districts surrounding New Delhi, in a bid to stop the protestors from entering the Indian capital.

Read more: How did the farmers’ protests turn into an oppressed peoples’ Movement in India

Yesterday, renowned US singer and actress, Rihanna took the internet by storm when she tweeted in support of the ongoing farmers’ protest in India. She shared a CNN article about the Indian government cutting off internet services in the surrounding areas of New Delhi and the violent clashes between the police and the farmers. She asked, “Why are we not talking about this?!”, using the hashtag “#FarmersProtest.”

Rihanna has a huge fan following in India and her tweet garnered thousands of retweets and likes as well as reactions from all over the world, especially India. She started trending on Twitter, and many appreciated her concern for the farmers, while others such as the renowned Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut did not seem to agree with the singer.

Calling Rihanna a “fool” for raising her voice against the human rights violations, the actress replied to her tweet saying “No one is talking about it because they are not farmers they are terrorists who are trying to divide India so that China can take over our vulnerable broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like the USA… Sit down you fool, we are not selling our nation like you dummies.”

Read more: Farmers Protest in India: The Beginning of a ‘Sikh Spring’


Moreover, climate and environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, shared the same article by CNN and showed her support for the farmers by stating, “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.”

Her tweet garnered several negative reactions from Indian Twitter users, asking her to focus on her climate change policy and to not interfere in India’s domestic politics. Many reminded her that India does not need foreign intervention to solve the issues associated with the ongoing farmers’ protest.

Read more: Indian Twitter accounts suspended on Modi government’s order amid farmers’ protest

Furthermore, several international actors, activists, and important personalities have expressed solidarity with the Indian farmers.

In September 2020, the Modi government passed three farm laws aiming to deregulate the agriculture sector in India, allowing farmers to get in contact with private buyers and companies to sell their produce. However, farmers are concerned that they may not have the skills to bargain with the large companies to get the price they usually get from the state. They fear they would be exploited at the hands of large corporations for profits, which they cannot afford since their livelihood depends on the agriculture sector.

The Modi government has stated that the laws do not take away the minimum support price (MSP) set by the state, but no such thing has been written in the laws, which has the farmers greatly concerned. As a result, in late November 2020, thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana set out to protest in New Delhi.

Read more: Indian women farmers on the front lines of protests

Despite the eight rounds of talks conducted between the farmers and the Indian government, no progress could be made regarding the farm laws. The farmers demand the government to revoke the three laws, but the government has refused.

The protestors came under multiple rounds of police shelling of tear gas shells as they reached the Singhu border in November, water cannons were deployed as well.

Cutting off the internet service, ordering the suspension of hundreds of Twitter accounts, sending riot police leading to violent clashes and the death of a demonstrator; for a country that calls itself the “biggest democracy in the world”, human rights violations like these should not be a common practice.

Read more: Op-ed: Will Indian government be able to scuttle the farmers’ protest?