Facts need to be ascertained before rushing to comment: MEA

New Delhi, Feb 3: India on Wednesday slammed the remarks made by American singer Rihanna and other celebrities and activists on farmer protests, saying the facts on the issue must be ascertained before rushing to comment on it, and asserted that the “temptation” of sensationalist social media hashtags and views is “neither accurate nor responsible”.

The strong reaction by the Ministry of External Affairs came after Rihanna, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, American actress Amanda Cerni, US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris and several other prominent people took to Twitter to lent their voices to the months-long farmer protests against three newly enacted farm laws.

The MEA also said some “vested interest groups” are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests and that a very small section of farmers in parts of the country have some reservations about the farm reforms which were passed by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion.

“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 MEA said in a statement.

“The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” it said.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting at three border points on the outskirts of Delhi demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws.

Emphasising that the protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, the ministry said some vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against the country.

Instigated by such “fringe elements”, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world, it said, adding this is “extremely disturbing” for India and for civilised society everywhere.

The ministry also noted that respecting the sentiments of the protestors, the Central government has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. As many as eleven rounds of talks have already been held, it said.

The government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India, it asserted.

Meanwhile, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha – the umbrella body of farmer unions protesting against three agri laws – said it is a matter of pride that eminent personalities of the world are showing sensitivity towards the cause of farmers, but it is unfortunate that the Government of India is not understanding their pain. – PTI