New Delhi: Hours after after pop singer Rihanna’s one-line tweet on India’s farmer’s protests drew international headlines, MEA has reacted. In a statement, MEA said,”Temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible”. “Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken,” MEA added. Earlier, Rihanna tweeted quoting a CNN story, ”why aren’t we talking about this?!” Her tweet followed a photo of India’s tractor rally, and a CNN story which went with the headline, ”India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police.” Also Read - 'We Stand in Solidarity': After Rihanna, Activist Greta Thunberg Extends Support To Farmers' Protest
Five hours after Rihanna’s tweet, social activist Greta Thunberg also tweeted, ”We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.” For the uninitiated, Indian farmers are protesting the three farm laws passed by Indian parliament to deregulate the farming sector. Lakhs of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh are protesting for over 2 months now demanding repeal of the three laws.
Here is what Rihanna and Greta Thunberg tweeted:
MEA’s full statement on Rihanna:
“The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector. These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming. A very small section of farmers in parts of India have some reservations about these reforms. Respecting the sentiments of the protesters, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union Ministers have been part of the negotiations, and eleven rounds of talks have already been held. The Government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India.
Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India’s Republic Day. A cherished national commemoration, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism took place in the Indian capital. Some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilise international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere.
Indian police forces have handled these protests with utmost restraint. It may be noted that hundreds of men and women serving in the police have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded.We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the Government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse. Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible. ”