Farmers arrive with blankets and mattresses for others at the site of a protest against farm laws at Ghaziabad, India on January 29, 2021
Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of the Indian capital for more than two months
India slammed international celebrities on Wednesday for making comments in support of protesting farmers as inaccurate and irresponsible and said vested interest groups were trying to build opinion against the country.
US singer Rihanna, climate change activist Greta Thunberg and US lawyer and activist Meena Harris, the niece of Vice-President Kamala Harris, made comments on social media drawing attention to the plight of farmers who have been on a months-long campaign against reforms.
“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 Indian foreign ministry said.
Earlier on Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said protesters that stormed New Delhi’s Red Fort had caused “insult” to the country, marking his first public comment on a months-long farmers’ agitation that turned violent last week.
Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of the capital for more than two months, protesting new agricultural laws they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.
A tractor parade on Tuesday’s Republic Day turned violent when some protesters deviated from pre-agreed routes, clashing with police and breaking into the historic Red Fort complex in the capital. One died and hundreds were injured.
Farm leaders say they were not responsible for violence, which were caused by a minority of those on the parade, and the government has left open the possibility talks between the two sides will resume.
Agriculture employs about half of India’s labour force, and unrest among an estimated 150 million landowning farmers is one of the biggest challenges to Modi’s rule since he first came to power in 2014.