‘Why tweet identical stuff?’: Congress’ Abhishek Singhvi questions celebrities, backs Centre in fight against ‘propaganda’

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February 04, 2021 6:04 PM

In the last couple of days, some international celebrities have extended their support to the farmers protests in India. Pop singer Rihanna was first to comment on a story carried by CNN on the farmers' protests in India.

Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi. (PTI)

Singhvi supports #IndiaRejectsPropaganda: Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has backed the central government in countering international celebrities for their tweets on farmers’ protests. In a tweet, the Congress MP said: “If celebrities strongly feel about a cause they should definitely tweet about it, however when they do it by tweeting identical stuff or through a master document which gets leaked, it just derails the movement and their credibility. #IndiaRejectsPropaganda”

In the last couple of days, some international celebrities have extended their support to the farmers protests in India. Pop singer Rihanna was first to comment on a story carried by CNN on the farmers’ protests in India. She was followed by former adult star Mia Khalifa, who shared a picture writing, “I stand with farmers”. These tweets created a buzz back in India with many activists sharing those tweets aggressively to drum up more support for farmers protesting against farm laws.

However, such international commentary on protests did not go down well with India which reacted sharply saying it was unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on the farmers. In a statement, the MEA said that some of the vested interest groups had also tried to mobilise international support against India.

Without naming Rihanna or any other celebrities, the MEA said the people should ascertain the facts and understand the issues before rushing to comment on any matters. “The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the MEA said, adding two hashtags, #IndiaTogether, #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.

Even before India reacted, a section of people and security analysts feared that there could be an international lobby which was building up the support in favour of protests in India. They also put out tweets suggesting India should be beware of “external forces” trying to derail it by using money and soft power. Echoing the same concern, BJP IT Cell Head Amit Malviya said that this sudden concert of global celebrity voices against India’s government begged the question: “who is wielding the baton? Is there a concerted global effort to destabilise India from outside? Who gains from destabilising India?”

And that fear, some say, turned out to be true when Greta Thunberg, a well-known young climate change activist, accidently posted a toolkit, containing a detailed account of how to cover and run social media campaigns on the farmers’ protest. The toolkit had the entire plan of what content should go when from which Twitter handles. It also had the template for tweets with timing, occasion and Twitter handles that had to be tagged.

The toolkit went viral on social media with many saying that it exposed some international celebrities who were tweeting from a given handout prepared by forces trying to destabilize India. And their suspicion grew further when Thunberg deleted the tweet in a few minutes. She, however, re-posted the toolkit saying the previous toolkit had outdated information.

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