India’s ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has blatantly condemned international support for the farmers’ protests, viewing it as highly propagandist.
“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 Indian foreign ministry stated.
“The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” it added.
Following this, Indian celebrities and social media personalities also jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to defend the Hindu nationalist government and to delineate a rosier picture of the country.
A growing cohort of predominantly Western international celebrities and significant individuals are using their social media platforms to showcase their solidarity with farmers’ protests in India.
Rihanna, the world-renowned singer, and businesswoman shared a news article related to the protests, asking: “Why aren’t we talking about this?”
“We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg tweeted.
Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization based on human rights has stated that Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government is “presiding over a dangerous regression in free speech rights in pursuit of its Hindu nationalist agenda.”
The niece of Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, believes everybody should be outraged by “paramilitary violence” against farmer protesters.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, is “deeply concerned” about the situation in India and plans to call on “Justin Trudeau to condemn the violence, immediately.”
Mia Khalifa, a Lebanese-American media personality, questioned the allegations made against the protesting farmers.
“Paid actors,” huh? Quite the casting director, I hope they’re not overlooked during awards season. I stand with the farmers.”
American vlogger Amanda Cerny said, “The world is watching. You don’t have to be Indian or Punjabi or South Asian to understand the issue. All you have to do is care about humanity. Always demand freedom of speech, freedom of press, basic human and civil rights-equity and dignity for workers.”
Lilly Singh, a Canadian YouTuber, comedian and talk show host has termed the protests as a “humanity issue”.
Bollywood celebrities back government
Meanwhile, popular personalities from the Indian entertainment industry were quick to defend the BJP government’s stance, terming the international attention towards the farmers’ protest mere ‘propaganda.’
Actor Akshay Kumar called for “an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences.”
“We must always take a comprehensive view of things, as there is nothing more dangerous than half truth,” said actor Suniel Shetty.
Actor Ajay Devgn said: “Don’t fall for any false propaganda against India or Indian policies.”
Film director Karan Johar urged: “Let us not let anyone divide us.”
Film and television director Ekta Kapoor said: “Let’s stand united against any propaganda. Together we can and we will!”