Current and former cricketers including Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Shastri among others have come out in support of the government on Twitter, following a tweet by international pop star Rihanna on the farmers’ support.
The cricketers used the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda, originally used by the Minister of External Affairs in its statement to celebrities, asking them to resist the temptation of using ‘sensational’ hashtags and comments, on Wednesday.
“India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let’s remain united as a nation. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda,” Sachin tweeted on Wednesday.
India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants.
Indians know India and should decide for India. Let’s remain united as a nation.#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) February 3, 2021
Using the same hashtags, Captain of Indian cricket team Virat Kohli called upon people to “stay united in this hour of disagrements.”
Cricketers including Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Shikar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and former Indian cricket captain Anil Kumble also tweeted similar messages, calling the issue India’s internal matter and stressing the need to stay together.
“India has always been stronger when we all stand together and finding a solution is the need of the hour. Our farmers play an important role in our nation’s well being and I am sure everyone will play their roles to find a solution TOGETHER. #IndiaTogether,” Rohit Sharma tweeted.
“As the world’s largest democracy, India is more than capable of taking her internal issues to amicable solutions,” Kumble tweeted.
Indian cricket team’s coach Ravi Shastri called it an internal matter which can be resolved through dialogue.
Reacting to the display of support lent by the cricketing fraternity to the Narendra Modi government, Congress leader Sashi Tharoor said the damage done to India’s global image by the government’s “obduracy and undemocratic behaviour” can’t be remedied by a cricketer’s tweets.
“For GoI to get Indian celebrities to react to Western ones is embarrassing. The damage done to India’s global image by GoI’s obduracy & undemocratic behaviour can’t be remedied by a cricketer’s tweets,” he tweeted.
The hashtag was also used by Bollywood celebrities including Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Suniel Shetty and Kailash Kher on Wednesday, soon after the MEA gave celebrities a lowdown on the farm bills, the farmers’ protests and asked them to fact check before commenting, without naming anyone.
Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences. 🙏🏻#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda https://t.co/LgAn6tIwWp
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) February 3, 2021
Rihanna tagging a news report about internet disruption in Delhi in an apparent bid by the administration to handicap the farmers’ protesters, had tweeted, “why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”.
Others like climate activist Greta Thunberg and Mia Khalifa also extended their support to the farmers’ protest.
The tweets, however, faced heavy criticism on Twitter, with many right-wing handlers calling them sponsored ones while others asked the ‘foreigners’ not to poke their nose in India’s internal affairs.