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International Icons Rihanna, Greta Thunberg Tweet in Support of Farmers’ Protest in India

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(Top left) Mia Khalifa. Photo licensed under CC Attribution 3.0. (Right) Climate activist Greta Thunberg. Photo licensed by CC Attribution 2.0 Generic. (Bottom left) Rihanna. Photo by SIGMA, licensed by CC Attribution 3.0.

Pop-star Rihanna took the internet by storm on Tuesday night when she tweeted a news story about the ongoing farmers’ protests in India and wrote “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”.

The singer shared an article by CNN published on Monday highlighting the internet shutdown in parts of New Delhi following the violent farmers’ clash with the police on Republic Day.

Soon after the singer’s tweet, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg also showed her support for the farmers’ protests.

The conversation started by Rihanna resulted in many other international voices to turn their attention towards the farmers’ protests in India. UK Member of Parliament Claudia Webbe shared Rihanna’s tweet and wrote, “In an era where political leadership is lacking we are grateful for others stepping forward.”

Meena, author and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, also showed her support on social media and wrote, “This is related. We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters.”

US House Representative Jim Costa also called the ongoing unrest as “troubling”.

Popular YouTuber Amanda Cerny shared a photo on Instagram and wrote, “Always demand freedom of speech, freedom of press, basic human and civil rights-equity and dignity for workers.”

Mia Khalifa, a former adult film actor, also showed her solidarity.

Back home, the reactions of Thunberg and Rihanna garnered mixed responses. While actors like Diljit Dosanjh and Richa Chadha came out in support of Rihanna, actor Kangana Ranaut took offence to it and tweeted, “No one is talking about it because they are not farmers they are terrorists who are trying to divide India so that China can take over our vulnerable broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like USA… Sit down you fool, we are not selling our nation like you dummies.”

While Rihanna hasn’t replied to Ranaut yet, Twitter users did not miss the opportunity to make memes on the actor.

The Union Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, “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.”

The Haryana government on Tuesday extended the ban on internet, bulk SMS services, and all dongle services, etc. except voice calls in some regions till 5 pm on Wednesday. 

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