Pop superstar Rihanna has angered pro-government and anti-farmer supporters in India by drawing global attention into months long farmer agitation against new farm laws passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Tens of thousands of farmers are now in their third month of protests camping on the outskirts of the capital, Delhi.
Farmers have been sheltering in tractors from the cold and have one demand repeal of three laws. They say the new laws destroy their livelihoods by bringing the nation’s vast agricultural sector under corporate control.
A tractor rally by farmers last week in New Delhi turned violent, killing one and wounding hundreds, including police officers.
Police responded by shutting down the internet, digging ditches, driving nails into roads and topping barricades with razor wire to prevent farmers from entering the capital again.
“Why aren’t we talking about this?!” Rihanna said in a Twitter post, sharing a CNN network article, using hashtag #FarmersProtest.
Hours later after Rihanna’s tweet, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg also posted the same. “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” Thunberg tweeted.
Human Rights Watch also tweeted Rihanna, saying the government of Prime Minister Modi is “presiding over a dangerous regression in free speech rights in pursuit of its Hindu nationalist agenda”.