New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday appeared to refer to the farmers’ protest toolkit tweeted by environmental activist Greta Thunberg earlier this week as he addressed an event in poll-bound Assam.
People who are conspiring to defame India have “stooped so low that they are not sparing even Indian tea”, Modi said, in an apparent reference to the toolkit Thunberg tweeted to mobilise support for the farmer protest.
This toolkit — drafted, she claimed, by people on the ground — was later deleted by Thunberg who subsequently put up an updated version.
Among other things, the first toolkit reportedly had a point that read “Disrupt yoga and chai image of India in general”.
The toolkit was tweeted as Thunberg vowed support for the farmers’ protest in India. She is one of several foreign celebrities who have taken to social media to highlight the protests, a campaign that has been criticised by the Indian government as the handiwork of “vested interest groups trying to derail the process & protests by enforcing their agenda”.
It is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to derail the process & protests by enforcing their agenda. We saw this on Republic Day & are seeing it again when some public figures are making statements without ascertaining facts & proper understanding of issues.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) February 3, 2021
The Delhi Police has registered a case against unknown persons in connection with the toolkit, invoking sections for sedition, criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between religions, and provocation with intent to cause a riot.
Bid to ‘tarnish India’s image’
Assam, which is the largest contiguous tea-growing region in the world, is one of five states/union territories headed for assembly elections in coming months. Modi was in Assam Sunday to launch the Asom Mala project, which is aimed at bolstering the state’s road infrastructure.
“Some foreign powers are planning to tarnish the image of India’s tea,” Modi said in Assam. “These conspirators are vowing to malign the image of Indian tea in a systematic manner across the world.”
People who are conspiring to defame India have stooped so low that they are not sparing even Indian tea. You must have heard in news that these conspirators are vowing to malign the image of Indian tea in a systematic manner across the world: PM Narendra Modi in Assam's Sonitpur pic.twitter.com/SRVJy5Okep
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2021
“Some documents that have come up reveal that some foreign powers are planning to attack India’s image associated with tea,” he said.
Some documents that have come up reveal that some foreign powers are planning to attack India's image associated with tea. Will you accept this attack? You will accept the people involved in this attack? Will you accept those praising these attackers?: PM Narendra Modi pic.twitter.com/QJSnHy3NI9
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2021
“Will you accept this attack? Will you accept the people involved in this attack? Will you accept those praising these attackers?” Modi added.
He made similar remarks once again later in the day when he addressed a rally in Haldia, West Bengal, another poll-bound state.