The Indian government has launched a sweeping blow against “foreign individuals” and celebrities. The reason is a tweet by the singer and entrepreneur Rihanna in which she expressed her support for the farmers. Hours after Rihanna’s tweet, statements of support from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and US Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, arrived – the tweets spread rapidly.
Following extensive debates, parliament passed “reform legislation in the agricultural sector”, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry. “The temptation of sensational hashtags and comments in social networks, especially those from celebrities and others, is neither right nor responsible,” it said.
“Why don’t we talk about it?”
Previously, Rihanna had shared a CNN article on the peasant protests in India and wrote, “Why don’t we talk about it?” The previous week, tens of thousands of peasants protested against agricultural deregulation laws in the capital, New Delhi, with clashes and hundreds of arrests came. Most recently, the local authorities blocked the Internet and blocked hundreds of Twitter accounts in the meantime.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping around the capital since November. In India, grain was previously traded in state-organized wholesale markets at guaranteed minimum prices. After the reform, farmers should also be able to sell their goods directly to private companies.
The government argues that free market producers could make higher profits and that the reform will modernize agriculture. The farmers, on the other hand, fear a drop in prices because they would be in a bad position in negotiations with the agricultural corporations.