Pop star Rihanna, and Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg seem to have upset the Indian government, after openly supporting the thousands of farmers who have been protesting against recent agricultural reforms passed by India’s government. Not only that, but they’ve incited the wrath of an army of right wing Twitter trolls in India too. Here’s what’s going on, and why India is mad at Rihanna, starting from the beginning.
The protests in India
According to Vox, thousands of farmers have been blocking routes into new Delhi for over two months, demanding the repeal of three new laws passed by the government in September 2020. These laws remove restrictions on how and where farmers sell their produce. The government say this should make it easier for farmers to sell their produce to big buyers, like Walmart. Farmers, though, fear that this will destroy wholesale markets that ensure fair and timely payments to farmers, and ultimately make things harder for them.
What’s Rihanna got to do with it?
Earlier in February, the pop star shared a link to a CNN story about the Indian government shutting off internet access after a protest, which called a lot of attention to the farmers’ plight. The tweet received hundreds of thousands of likes and even got the attention of the Indian government itself which responded, according to Vox, that “foreign celebrities should know the facts before weighing in on Indian affairs”.
Many government supporters followed suit, tweeting various forms of abuse at the artist, some of which included racist comments and jokes about her assault by former partner Chris Brown which made headlines in 2009.
No one is talking about it because they are not farmers they are terrorists who are trying to divide India, so that China can take over our vulnerable broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like USA…
Sit down you fool, we are not selling our nation like you dummies. https://t.co/OIAD5Pa61a
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) February 2, 2021
Enter Greta Thunberg
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg also expressed support for the Indian farmers, receiving similar abuse as Rihanna as a result.
Many Indian Twitter users who support the government, as well as the government itself, claim that the newly implemented policies will provide farmers with more autonomy, and that they’re necessary in order to help the industry progress and improve. Farmers will now be allowed to sell goods and make contracts with independent buyers outside of previously limited government-sanctioned marketplaces. India is mad at Rihanna and Thunberg for allegedly spreading false information and further fanning the flames of dissent already engulfing the nation.
The governments move to shut down the internet on account of these protests and celebrity reactions to them is evidence of their determination to keep the international community out of what it deems to be Indian business, and Indian business alone.
“Farmers have so much passion because they know that these three laws are like death warrants for them,” Abhimanyu Kohar, coordinator of the National Farmer’s Alliance told Jariel Arvin for Vox. “Our farmers are doing this movement for our future, for our very survival.”