Ace music composer and Indian Idol judge, Vishal Dadlani, on Thursday lashed out at news agency ANI for reporting that the US State Department had supported India’s Farm Laws. A visibly angry Vishal accused ANI of lying after several international celebrities including Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, Mia Khalifa and Meena Harris extended their support to India’s farmers’ agitation against the three Farm Laws.
The headline by ANI had read, “US backs India’s new farm laws, says these reforms will improve efficiency of markets.” In its statement, the US State Department had said that it welcomed ‘steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment.’ Nowhere had the State Department spokesperson used words suggesting the US had backed India’s controversial Farm Laws.
This left Vishal seething as he took to Twitter to lash out at ANY. He wrote, “You’re straight-up lying. I’ve attached the statement you have printed, @ani_digital. I’m sure someone in your organisation must be literate. Please point out where the US specifically backs Modi’s farm laws.”
You’re straight-up lying.
I’ve attached the statement you have printed, @ani_digital.
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) February 4, 2021
Expressing concern on the internet ban imposed by the Indian authorities seemingly to quell the farmers’ agitation, the US State Department had said, “We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and hallmark of a thriving democracy.”
The US had also reminded India about the essence of peaceful protests in a thriving democracy. The spokesperson, according to news agency PTI, said, “We recognise that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same.”
The statement from the State Department on India’s farmers’ protests comes hours after pop star Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg extended their extraordinary support to the farmers’ agitation in India. Also throwing her weight behind the farmers’ movement was Meena Harris, the niece of the newly elected US Vice President Kamala Harris.
Reacting to Rihanna’s tweet, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had issued an extraordinary statement saying that ‘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 temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the statement by the MEA had read.
The statement by the MEA was followed by several Indian celebrities such as actors Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan, cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and singer Lata Mangeshkar posting identical tweets expressing their resentment to foreign intervention to what they said was India’s internal matter.