Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday reacted to Bollywood celebrities and sportspersons rallying in favour of the Centre against popular international faces who are expressing support of the farmers’ protest, calling it “embarrassing” to pit Indian celebs against the Western ones.
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. Withdraw the farm laws &discuss solutions w/farmers &you'll get #IndiaTogether.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 3, 2021
“For GoI (government of India) 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. Withdraw the farm laws & discuss solutions with farmers & you’ll get #IndiaTogether,” tweeted Tharoor.
Tharoor is the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, former Union minister of state for external affairs during the UPA II era, and a former UN under secretary general.
Tharoor’s comment came amid a heated a social media storm which started with popular singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg expressing support to the farmers and the Indian government responding in strong words, which was amplified further by several popular Indian celebrities, including Bollywood personalities, cricketers, and top ministers.
Among the prominent ones among cricketing personalities to tweet to amplify the Centre’s pushback to global celebs – with hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda – were Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri, and Virat Kohli.
Besides Tharoor, another senior Congress leader, P Chidambaram, said that it is good that Rihanna and Greta Thunberg can wake up the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
It is good that Rihanna and Greta Thunberg can wake up the MEA.
Come on MEA, when will you realize that people concerned with issues of human rights and livelihoods do not recognize national boundaries?
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 3, 2021
“Come on MEA, when will you realize that people concerned with issues of human rights and livelihoods do not recognize national boundaries? Why did MEA comment on the military coup in Myanmar? Why is it ‘deeply concerning’ to the MEA?” he said in a series of tweets.
Why does MEA regularly comment on issues that are “internal” to Sri Lanka and Nepal, the former Union minister asked.
“Why did the PM of India comment on the assault on the Capitol building in Washington by the Trump storm troopers? It is sad that someone erudite and worldly wise like Mr S Jaishankar should allow such puerile reactions by the MEA,” Chidambaram said.
Earlier, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, at a press conference, refused to comment on the tweets by the international celebrities extending support to the farmers’ protest, saying “this is our internal matter.”
Adding to the voices of Rihanna and Thunberg were American actor Amanda Cerni, US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris, ‘Serendipity’ star John Cusack, who retweeted a post by Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate reading, “Let us talk about what is happening in India right now #FarmersProtest,” and former adult star Mia Khalifa who asked, “What in the human rights violations is going on?! They cut the internet around New Delhi?! #FarmersProtest.”
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs earlier slammed the remarks made by Rihanna and other celebrities and activists on farmer protests, saying the facts on the issue must be ascertained before rushing to comment on it, and asserted that the “temptation” of sensationalist social media hashtags and views is “neither accurate nor responsible.”
(With inputs from agencies)