Oppression against us attracting international attention: Farmers

Union leader terms support from abroad ‘last nail on the coffin’ for the government.
Paramilitary personnel tread carefully to avoid iron nails put up at Tikri border, on Thursday | Shekhar Yadav
Paramilitary personnel tread carefully to avoid iron nails put up at Tikri border, on Thursday | Shekhar Yadav

NEW DELHI:  A day after three international celebrities kicked up a Twitter storm by supporting the ongoing farmers’ agitation on Delhi borders, the farmers at Tikri border, one of the epicentres of the protest, said the solidarity from abroad is a “nail on the coffin” for the government. The movement will only grow further, they claimed. 

“The issue has become an international embarrassment now. How does it reflect on a country when an American singer has to raise awareness on protests happening in India? Indian celebrities who did not post a comment in solidarity with the movement suddenly rushed to the government’s aid to issue messages of unity on Twitter. They will oppose Rihanna’s statement but not condemn basic human rights violations like suspension of Internet and supplies being cut off for farmers.

The hypocrisy lies exposed now,” said Varun Chouhan who hails from Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri.  On Wednesday, the Centre had put out a statement against the support lent to the movement by international personalities including American pop singer Rihanna, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris. 

Soon, several Union ministers and celebrity film stars retweeted the statement. Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, and legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar were among others who issued statements on how “internal issues” could be resolved “amicably”. Activist Sudesh Goyat said it was unfortunate for celebrities to let down youth who “idolise” them.      

Jasbir Kaur Nat, state committee member of Punjab Kisan Union, said the reaction of international celebrities in support of the farmers was a “nail in the coffin” for the Indian government.  “The government stepping up oppression against farmers at the protest sites is attracting more international attention. They thought suspending Internet would help them twist the narrative. However, it turned out to be a move of political suicide for them,”  he said.

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