On Tuesday, American pop singer and businesswoman Rihanna and teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg caused outrage in India after they took to social media platform Twitter and tweeted about alleged internet shutdown in several parts of the adjoining borders of New Delhi.
The tweets came following clashes between security forces and protesting farmers who have been agitating for weeks against the passing of three agricultural reforms by the Central government.
Sharing an article by CNN highlighting the internet cuts in Delhi that have been put in place to contain clashes, Rihanna wrote, “Why aren’t we talking about this?"
Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish activist, also put out a similar tweet.
Thunberg’s tweet drew the ire of environmental activists in India who called out the global ‘School Strike for Climate’ founder for tweeting in the matter while allaying her duties as an environmentalist. Some such as Professor Shamika Ravi pointed out the irony of a climate activist tweeted in the matter while turning a blind eye to certain farming practices practiced by agriculturalists in India. Rihanna was also called out.
The irony! Climate champion standing in support of farming practices that have led to poisoned land, vanishing water-table and the “cancer trains”. India can definitely do better. India is trying to do better by bringing in long awaited farm reforms. Pls don’t muddy the waters. https://t.co/mCHXaBrI1Y— Prof Shamika Ravi (@ShamikaRavi) February 3, 2021
The protesting so-called ‘farmers’ are demanding the right to pollute the air, have drained Punjab of its ground water, use tons of chemicals produced by US corporate giants, and think climate threat is a hoax.It pays to be in school, than out of it to preach flashy bunkum. pic.twitter.com/4OJ1b67cz8— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) February 3, 2021
Dear Reihanna,you should tweet to US Govt to support Indian Government to continue farmers subsidies in WTO.US, Canada and other developed countries are putting pressure on India in WTO to remove farm subsidies https://t.co/W0dPi1Z2As— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) February 3, 2021
Breaking: India reacts to comments by Rihanna, Greta and others on farmers protests in India. MEA says,"temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible. " pic.twitter.com/7A0V0Jazzw— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) February 3, 2021
After many such tweets, the Ministry of External Affairs shared a statement in which it urged celebrities to practice restraint and tweet responsibly.
“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 statement read.
Rihanna is a Barbadian singer whose net worth USD 600 million and made it Forbes list of the richest self-made women in 2020.