MEA Defends Farm Laws Amid International Backlash
After international climate change activists and celebrities tweeted in support of the farmers’ protests against the Farm Laws, the Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement released on Wednesday, said that the “temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments” was “neither accurate nor responsible.”
The MEA statement comes at a time when the opposition has been pressuring the Centre in Parliament and the farmers have been camped at Delhi’s borders for 70 days now.
Notably, the MEA’s response to pop-star Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg came less than a day after they had tweeted about it. The government also added the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda in its press release, presumably to kick-start a ‘local for vocal’ counter to backlash from the international community.
In its release, the government said the Parliament had passed the “reform” oriented laws after “a full debate and discussion.” It mentioned that a “very small section of farmers in parts of India” had reservations about the laws, adding that union ministers have held discussions with farmer representatives and that it had offered to keep the laws on hold. It said that the protests “must be seen in context of India’s democratic ethos and polity,” and that the Centre was keen on resolving the “impasse”.
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) February 3, 2021
“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that 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 concluded, adding the two hashtags at the end.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece were among several people from the international community who have come out in support of the farmers’ protest against the Centre's controversial laws.
Their remarks came soon after international pop star Rihanna shared a news article highlighting the Centre's crackdown on the farmers by cutting off internet services in many regions.
“We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” Thunberg tweeted on Tuesday.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 2, 2021
Meena Harris, an American lawyer and the niece of US VP Harris, had said: “It's no coincidence that the world's oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault.”
“This is related. We ALL should be outraged by India's internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters,” Meena Harris tweeted.
It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault. This is related. We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters. https://t.co/yIvCWYQDD1 pic.twitter.com/DxWWhkemxW
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 2, 2021
Earlier, Rihanna had tweeted: "Why aren't we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest."
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Nine-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam had asked Thunberg to the support farmers protest, saying they were already battling climate crisis.
“Hi @GretaThunberg! Please extend support to the voice of millions of Indian farmers. This is the world's biggest historic protest for their rights,” Kanjugam, who is also called "India's Greta Thunberg", tweeted.
Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, has also come out in support of farmers.
— Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) February 2, 2021
“Let us talk about what is happening in India right now #FarmersProtest,” Nakate tweeted, tagging Kangujam.
The farmers’ protest against the three Farm Laws at Delhi’s borders entered its 70th day on Wednesday. Farmers from Punjab have been protesting against the laws since August last year before taking the agitation to Delhi on November 26, 2020.
With PTI inputs
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