Celebrities like Greta Thunberg and Rhianna have been outspoken about their support of the Indian Farmer’s Protests.
Over in India, protests have surged by Farmers who oppose three different laws that are yet to be implemented and are under review by the supreme court. Farmers are opposed to the new laws as they believe it will de-regulate crop pricing, and leave them vulnerable to under-pricing by big businesses and large corporations, lowering their already low annual income. Clashes between the police and protesters have recently turned violent, despite peaceful protests waging for over a month.
Although Greta Thunberg and Rhianna have come out in support of the Farmers, they are rejecting international input in India’s internal affairs. Greta Thunberg was met with major backlash after the tweet below.
Greta Thunberg also shared a toolkit, which Indian State TV responded to with Anger; Indian state TV reported that the toolkit represented an attempt to ‘promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language… and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.’ Many criticized Thunberg for not knowing enough about the protests themselves, as some of the protestor’ strife is also with a new environmentally friendly law which bans the burning of Parali, also known as stubble burning. Stubble burning is the process of intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, such as rice and wheat, have been harvested. The process releases gasses and toxins that are extremely harmful to the environment.
The government of India has put out a statement in response to the social media campaign supporting protesters. The statement also condemns the meddling of India’s affairs by the world: ‘‘the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible.’
Meena Harris, a prominent lawyer in America, has also had her poster burnt in response to tweets about the government and the protests.
The protests that turned violent were fuelled by the government’s decision to shut down internet access in prominent locations where protesters met to stop their organization and led to violent clashes with police. 100 officers were injured as a result and a number of protesters were killed or are still missing. Many MP’s in Britain have pushed for Boris Johnson to apply pressure for a speedy resolution of the current deadlock, due to the close ties many families in Britain have with a very large diaspora from Punjab living in the UK.