A portrait of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was burned in Delhi following her tweets about Indian farmers’ protests. The singer Rihanna also expressed her support for the protesters on the social network. In India, the intervention of Western celebrities is believed to fuel conflict.
Delhi counter-protestors burned images of a Swedish environmental activist after Greta Thunberg tweeted her support for protesting farmers in India.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Crowds of people gathered in Delhi to protest against several international celebrities, including Greta Thunberg and pop singer Rihanna, who tweeted about ongoing peasant protests, The Guardian writes. Photos of Thunberg and Rihanna were set on fire, and banners were raised warning that “international interference” in India’s affairs was unacceptable.
The protest actions of Indian farmers in the capital of the country have been going on for several months. Since November, hundreds of thousands of landowners have camped around Delhi, demanding the repeal of several new agricultural laws that have grieved them.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 4, 2021
Several rounds of negotiations between the government and farmers were unsuccessful, and the Supreme Court recently suspended enforcement of laws. Agriculture officials said they would not stop their protests until the government agrees to repeal a number of laws passed last year. For their part, the authorities argue that the laws will increase private investment in the archaic agricultural sector and will stimulate modernization. But peasants say the changes that allow large retailers to buy directly from producers would end long-standing guaranteed prices for their crops and make them dependent on big business.
After last week’s march turned into riots, with hundreds of people stormed the Indian capital’s historic Red Fort, police began breaking up the farmers.
Greta Thunberg, who publicly expressed solidarity with the farmers’ protests, drew criticism from the Indian authorities after she tweeted a “toolbox” for people who wanted to show support for farmers. It includes campaign tips, such as recommended hashtags and tips on how to sign petitions, The Guardian writes.
Previously, an article about the situation with Indian farmers was retweeted by singer Rihanna, accompanying the link with the caption: “Why aren’t we talking about this ?!” and hashtag #FarmersProtest.
A spokesman for the Indian Foreign Ministry reacted to the statements of Western celebrities: “After extensive discussions and deliberations, the Indian Parliament passed reform legislation regarding the agricultural sector. These reforms provide for increased market access and provide farmers with greater leeway. They also pave the way for economically and environmentally sustainable farming. ”
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “a very small proportion of farmers in some parts of India have some doubts about these reforms,” and that, respecting the feelings of the protesters, the country’s government has begun negotiations with representatives of the disgruntled peasantry. Meanwhile, according to the statement, “groups of people with vested interests” not only tried to disrupt the celebration of the national holiday, Republic Day, but also “tried to mobilize international support against India,” with the result that statues of Mahatma Gandhi were desecrated in some parts of the world. …
In essence, addressing foreign leaders who have publicly announced their support for the protesters in India, the Foreign Office suggests: “Before rushing to comment on such issues, we urge you to verify the facts and acquire a proper understanding of the issues at stake. It is wrong and irresponsible to succumb to the lure of sensational hashtags and comments on social media, especially when used by celebrities and others. “