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Not just Rihanna — farmer protests drew support from global stars Lilly Singh, Hasan Minhaj too

A host of international celebrities, politicians and sport personalities have over the past two days expressed their solidarity with the farmers protesting at Delhi's borders.

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New Delhi: International attention on the farmers’ protest in India has been growing over the past two days following a tweet by pop singer Rihanna and the reactions it triggered from other celebrities.

The protests have dominated much of the news in India for the past two months, since farmers set up camp at Delhi’s borders in December, demanding that the Narendra Modi government repeal three contentious laws that were passed in September last year.

Eleven rounds of talks with the government have been held, but the stalemate has continued with the farmers unwilling to concede on their demand and the government unwilling to budge on not repealing the laws.

The issue turned ugly on 26 January — Republic Day — when farmers pushed through police barricades to carry out a tractor rally in the national capital. In the ensuing mayhem, one farmer died of injuries sustained in an accident while dozens of police personnel and farmers were injured. As the chaos unfolded, internet was suspended at the border areas where protest sites have cropped up and in pockets across Delhi.

The news of the internet suspension, which was lifted 2 February, caught the attention of Rihanna. Meanwhile, environmental activist Greta Thunberg also tweeted in support of the protests Wednesday. These tweets have since snowballed into many Hollywood celebrities, international athletes and other prominent personalities expressing their solidarity with the farmer protests.

ThePrint looks at the international celebrities that have spoken up for farmers.

Singer and cosmetics mogul Rihanna tweeted about the protest Tuesday with a link to a CNN article, about the internet suspension. In her post, she asked: “Why aren’t we talking about this?”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg Wednesday also expressed solidarity with the farmers and tweeted, “We stand in solidarity with the farmers’ protest in India.” Thunberg also listed ways of helping out the protesting farmers and used the hashtag #StandwithFarmers

Lawyer and US Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris, drew comparisons between India and the US and said the “world’s most populous democracy is under assault” and that everyone should be outraged.

In a thread, she spoke about the violence at the Capitol and said “fascism anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.” Harris added: “Militant nationalism is just as potent a force in US politics as it is in India or anyplace else.”

National Football League athlete Juju Smith-Schuster donated $10,000 “to provide medical assistance to the farmers in need in India to help save lives during these times”.

US basketball players also came out in support of the farmers, including point forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Alexander Kuzma. Meanwhile, former NBA player Baron Davis, said, “Are we going to address what’s happening in India ? Let my good people free !! Unfair to those who struggle, the farmers provide a way of living and they need to have a right to a way of life. Join me and let’s bring awareness.”

Lebanese model Mia Khalifa tweeted in support of the farmers’ protests, and even made a quip about people being paid to tweet.

YouTuber and late night TV host Lilly Singh and model Amanda Cerny also extended their support to the protesting farmers.

After Rihanna’s tweet, comedian Hasan Minhaj also shared an article to generate awareness about the farmers’ protests.

Members of the US Congress have also tweeted on the farmers issue. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said, “India must protect their basic democratic rights, allow for the free flow of information, reinstate internet access, and release all the journalists detained for covering the protests.”

Representative Jim Costa, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee — a US House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs — said that he was closely monitoring the situation and that “the right to peaceful protest must always be respected”.

Also read: Rihanna’s tweet took TV news back to ’70s. No foreign criticism of India allowed

MEA’s response & Indian celebrities

After the outpouring of international support for Indian farmers and their agitation, the Ministry of External Affairs warned against “vested interest groups trying to mobilise international support against India”.

The ministry’s statement, released Wednesday, also noted that facts should be ascertained before commenting on the matter — a pointed reference to the celebrities tweeting on the matter.

Soon after, many Indian celebrities and sports personalities used the same hashtag and noted that the protests were India’s internal matter.

These included singer Lata Mangeshkar, actors Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Ajay Devgn, film-maker Karan Johar and producer Ekta Kapoor. Sportspersons such as Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Saina Nehwal and several others also tweeted with the hashtag #IndiaTogether.

Ministers and politicians such as Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar were also critical of the international “propaganda”.

Also read: ‘Are 60% Indians terrorists?’ — Rahul Gandhi slams Kangana Ranaut over tweet on farmers

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  1. Above are comments from right wing twats. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Watching RSS bastards dressed in police uniform standing shoulder to shoulder with so call law enforcement personnel- you are all a joke. Thank you to everyone who supports the farmers. So called celebrities like Tendulkar should be ashamed of himself kissing BJP ass and Ambani ass but I suppose he has to since his daughter is fucking around with Ambani (the greedy basdard) son. As far as the jomers above are concerned they can do what they do beat and fuck their mothers and sisters.

  2. Celebrities and singers are not well educated. In fact these international celebrities are barely literate.
    They are out for publicity. Trying to milk thid issue. Maybe some of them have been paid

  3. How about telling these idiot foreigners to either shut their ignorant mouths or learn about the issue? Fucking idiots. 80% of Punjab’s farm output (Rs 54,000 crores) last season was procured by the govt. These zamindars are only interested in safe guarding that income. The rest of us who farm in other places in the country would get more options under the farm law. But they dont want that because control will be lost.

  4. Don’t give unnecessary importance to people who sit in glass houses.They are called celebs because of our idiocy.

  5. So? Indian Parliament makes laws suited for its citizens. Coterie of paidvitists are not a mirror of conscience but the problem itself ! This “white man approval” syndrome in the times of Black lives matter is laughable. More laughable is the text they are tweeting . “Devastating Indian farmer….” I mean whom are we kidding really? These laws already started devastating people without them even being implemented ? And since when did more open access to market kill people? These “celebrities” should be asked to perform for only on TV channel and let us see what they think about that? The obsession of holding up moral compass is sincerely no more the right of these people who themselves are unable to comprehend the division and hatred in their own society.

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