In an extraordinary development, singer Rihanna has extended her support to the farmers’ protest as she took to social media to question the internet ban imposed by the BJP government both in Haryana and Delhi through the city police.
Sharing a news report by CNN on India’s farmers’ protest, Rihanna asked, “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
The report by CNN was about the government’s decision to cut internet services to the protesting farmers. This was after the BJP government in Haryana banned internet services in 14 out of 22 districts. The ban was first for 24 hours before the government extended it till 2 February.
A similar ban was imposed in parts of Delhi by the city police, which reports to India’s ministry of home affairs headed by Amit Shah.
Rihanna extending support to farmers assumes significance given her global appeal. She has in excess of 100 million followers on Twitter alone. The Centre’s Narendra Modi government may not like the farmers’ movement gaining international appeal.
Earlier, British professional boxer Kell Brook had raised his voice against brutality allegedly committed by the police in India recently. Brook, who has held the IBF welterweight title from 2014 to 2017, shared a photo of one Ranjit Singh being crushed under the boot of a policeman and wrote, “Stop this now.”
The Indian government has faced condemnation for its handling of the farmers’ protests. Twitter this week blocked hundreds of accounts for tweeting on the farmers’ protest. They included CPI-M MP Mohammed Salim, news website The Caravan and Kisan Ekta Morcha, the organisation representing protesting farmers, among others. The microblogging site had to withdraw its decision, taken at the behest of the IT ministry of the Modi government, after widespread outrage.
The Delhi Police had arrested a journalist from the protest site. Mandeep Punia’s arrest had come hours after he did a Facebook LIVE ‘exposing’ the nexus between goons belonging to the BJP and violence at the protest site on Friday last week. A group of violent people, claiming to be locals, had attacked farmers on Friday. However, Punia, who was present at the site of the violence, had said that those committing violence in police protection belonged to the ruling BJP.
Punia was granted bail on Tuesday evening.