Farmer Protest | Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn Slam Rihanna

A day after international celebrities Rihanna and Greta Thunberg called for support towards the farmers’ protest, Bollywood superstars and cricketers joined the Centre’s call to stand united against “propaganda” against India’s policies.


Aday after international celebrities Rihanna and Greta Thunberg called for support towards the farmers’ protest, Bollywood superstars like Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar, and sportspersons like Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble joined the Centre’s call to stand united against “propaganda” against India’s policies.

In a tweet, Ajay Devgn said, “Don’t fall for any false propaganda against India or Indian policies. Its important to stand united at this hour w/o any infighting.”

Sharing the MEA statement, Akshay Kumar said, “Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences.”

Sachin Tendulkar also backed the government's call for unity and condemned international remarks on India's internal matters. "India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let's remain united as a nation," Sachin Tendulkar's tweet said.

Anil Kumble said, "As the world's largest democracy, India is more than capable of taking her internal issues to amicable solutions. Onwards and upwards."

The Bollywood actors and cricketers were reacting to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which said celebrities should refrain from commenting on issues and try to get a “proper understanding of the issues”.“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," said MEA in its statement on Wednesday.

Ace Bollywood producer and director Karan Johar, too, voiced support towards the government’s campaign to stand united. In a tweet, Karan Johar said, “We live in turbulent times and the need of the hour is prudence and patience at every turn. Let us together make every effort we can to find solutions that work for everyone—our farmers are the backbone of India. Let us not let anyone divide us.”

Suniel Shetty came out in support of the government stand and said, “We must always take a comprehensive view of things, as there is nothing more dangerous than half-truth.”

The government reaction came hours after international pop icon Rihanna, who has over 100 million followers on Twitter, posted a tweet asking why isn't there a discussion on the ongoing farmers' protest in India. 

As soon as Rihanna brought global attention to the ongoing farmers' agitation, a number of international celebrities started showing solidarity towards the protest.

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and US Vice President Kamala Harris's niece were among several people who came out in support of the farmers' protest against the farm reform laws.

As Delhi Police raised concrete barricades at the border points around Delhi where farmers have been agitating for months and also shut down internet services, Rihanna took to the social media platform to gather support for the agitation with the hashtag -- #FarmersProtest. 

MEA on Rihanna, Greta

In an official statement, released on Wednesday, the MEA slammed the remarks made by Rihanna and other celebrities and activists on farmer protests, saying the facts on the issue must be ascertained before rushing to comment on it, and asserted that the "temptation" of sensationalist social media hashtags and views is "neither accurate nor responsible".

The MEA also said some "vested interest groups" are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests and that a very small section of farmers in parts of the country has some reservations about the farm reforms which were passed by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion.

"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 MEA said in a statement.

"The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," it said.

Emphasising that the protests must be seen in the context of India's democratic ethos and polity, the ministry said some vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against the country.

The ministry also noted that respecting the sentiments of the protestors, the Central government has initiated a series of talks with their representatives and Union ministers have been part of the negotiations. As many as eleven rounds of talks have already been held, it said.

The government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India, it asserted.

"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," the ministry said.

Union ministers slam international comments

The MEA statement was also shared by several Union ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and several others as they called out ‘vested interests’ trying to create divisions in India’s unity via propaganda.

In his tweet, Amit Shah termed international comments backing farm stir as 'propaganda, targeting India's unity'.

"No propaganda can deter India’s unity! No propaganda can stop India to attain new heights! Propaganda can not decide India’s fate only ‘Progress’ can. India stands united and together to achieve progress," Amit Shah said while retweeting the Ministry of External Affairs' official response to such comments.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri says lies and misinformation was being used to discredit farm laws. In a series of tweets, Puri shared information about various committees that worked to draft the farm aws over 20 years. "Unlike the fake narrative the laws were clearly not 'rushed.' Many of those now vitiating the narrative have supported these for decades," Puri said.

EAM S Jaishankar termed international remarks on farm stir as ‘motivated campaigns targeting India’. In his tweet, Jaishankar said that such campaigns “will never succeed. We have the self confidence today to hold our own. This India will push back.”

Farmers thank international celebrities 

On the other hand, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the united front of agitating farmers, acknowledged the support of international personalities towards the ongoing farmers' movement in India.

"On the one hand, it is a matter of pride that eminent personalities of the world are showing sensitivity towards the cause of farmers, while on the other hand, it is unfortunate that the Government of India is not understanding the pain of the farmers and some people are even calling peaceful farmers as terrorists," the SKM said in a statement.

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