Farmers’ protest: Why did a Rihanna tweet prompt Indian backlash? The State Department issued a statement criticizing “celebrities and others” for their “inaccurate or inappropriate” comments and top ministers and celebrities wrote on Twitter using “propaganda” threatening India’s unity.
Some government-sponsored news channels raised the voice of the establishment; one Bollywood actress known for her pro-government views called Rihanna a “sex star”; and the trolls are misogynistic and even praise her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown for beating her in 2009.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting at the border of the capital Delhi for more than two months in protest of new rules that will free up rules relating to the sale, price and storage of agricultural products.
Rihanna’s tweet on Tuesday linked to a news story about internet bans on protest sites and quickly spread, gaining more than 700,000 likes. “Why don’t we talk about this ?!” wrote the artist, who has 100 million followers on social media.
The government’s repatriation was quick, led by Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah who posted on Twitter last night with the hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether. “No propaganda can hinder India’s unity! No propaganda can prevent India from reaching the heights! Propaganda cannot determine India’s destiny… only” Development “can. India stands united and united to achieve progress , “he wrote.
Shortly afterwards, ministers, Bollywood stars and cricket players also began tweeting, using one or both of the hashtags used by Mr. Shah.
“The Indian monarchy will not be disturbed. External powers can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and must decide on India. Let us remain united as a nation,” wrote cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
Similar or similar tweets were shared by several celebrities, including Indian captain Virat Kohli, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Karan Johar, popular singer Lata Mangeshkar and badminton actress Saina Nehwal – which led to suggestions that the messages were compiled by sources. communications executives of the ruling Baratiya Janata Party (BJP).
And after Greta Thunberg’s weather campaign shared a registration link to oppose the new rules, Delhi police said they were investigating whether there was an international campaign that tarnished India’s image.
The protests have been a never-ending challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Protesters, including elderly men, women, and children, refused to move even in the bitter cold of winter, camping in the open, sitting and sleeping on the streets. There are a lot of dead people too.
The government has said it will suspend the rules for 18 months, but farmers say it should be repealed.
Last week, protests made headlines around the world when a farmers’ tractor rally ended in violent clashes, which left the protest dead and hundreds of police and protesters injured. Some protesters stormed the historic Red Fort of Delhi and stayed there until police chased them away.
While Rihanna’s tweet was widely circulated, garnering tens of thousands of responses, many praised her for bringing global attention to the “critical cause”. But many also criticized her for participating in protests against laws protected by the government and her supporters.
Some government-backed news outlets were in the news describing Rihanna as an “ignorant foreigner” who was part of a “plot to divide India” and vowed that “propaganda would not succeed”.
One news anchor – in what was considered an Islamicophobic commentary – asked whether the Barbadadian singer was named Rihanna or Rehana.
Nationalist trolls have released old photos of the singer’s attack on her ex-boyfriend, sexually abusing her. Some have pointed out the problematic way in which some Indian men use violence to lock women out of different and independent views:
But one of the biggest shocks to the artist came from Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut, a vocal supporter of BJP. In a series of tweets, she criticized Rihanna’s work, her music, her appearance, and even the color of her skin.
She posted photos of the pop star in a bikini, calling her a “porn star” and a “porn artist”, and revealed that she had been paid for the tweet.
This huge outbreak has left many wondering about India’s high response to social media posts.
But Rihanna’s tweet, which raised the voice of protesting farmers, would not come at a bad time for the government.
Farmers announced plans to block the main roads into the capital on Saturday and the government is using heavy equipment to stop them.
Iron nails, sticks, barbed wire, rocks and temporary walls have emerged and canals have been stolen from Delhi’s borders – farmers and critics have blamed the government for making “war-like” preparations against its citizens.
Authorities are also waging a war of attrition and are trying to keep the cover of international criticism of India’s treatment of its farmers.
In late November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first to express concern about India’s response to the protests. In recent weeks, members of the British and Canadian Parliament have criticized Delhi’s handling of the protests.
India is adamant that it should not be interfered with in its internal affairs, but on Thursday, after Rihanna’s twitter day, the United States was the latest to comment on the protests.
A spokesman for the US embassy in Delhi said Washington had “welcomed measures that would improve the performance of Indian markets and attract greater investment in the private sector”, but said it “encouraged” the difference.