“Ascertain facts before commenting”: MEA reacts to Rihanna, Greta Thunberg’s remarks on farmers’ protest

Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 February 2021 (16:45 IST)
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said criticism of the government’s handling of farmers protests against the three farm bills by international celebrities was neither accurate nor responsible.

“We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the Government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
 
The statement contended “vested interest groups” are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests to derail them and said these groups have tried to mobilise global support against India.
 
It also referred to “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments” by “celebrities and others” but didn’t name anyone.
 
“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,” it said.
 
The Ministry said that India passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector after a full debate and discussion in Parliament.
 
These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming, it added.
 
A very small section of farmers in parts of India have some reservations about these reforms.
 
Respecting the sentiments of the protestors, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union Ministers have been part of the negotiations, and eleven rounds of talks have already been held. The Government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India.
 
A cherished national commemoration, January 26, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism occurred, it said.
 
“Indian police forces have handled these protests with utmost restraint. It may be noted that hundreds of men and women serving in the police have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded,” the said.
 
It may be noted that pop star on Tuesday shared a news article highlighting the Indian government’s action on the protesters by cutting off internet services in many areas, and tweeted “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest.”


 
Hours after Rihanna’s reaction came over the farm protest, Thunberg also took to twitter to extend her support to the agitating farmers.


 
“We stand in solidarity with #farmersprotest in India”, Thunberg tweeted. (UNI)