New Delhi, Feb 4: With international pop sensation Rihanna trying to bring global attention to the ongoing farmers protest in India, various cricket personalities, including Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, have joined the 'India together' drive by leading the call for unity.
Rihanna on Tuesday night posted a news link on India's farmers' protest and tweeted, "why aren't we talking about this?!" It triggered widespread outrage from Indians questioning Rihanna's credentials and knowledge about the country's internal matters.
"India's sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let's remain united as a nation. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda," tweeted Tendulkar.
"Let us all stay united in this hour of disagreements. Farmers are an integral part of our country and I'm sure an amicable solution will be found between all parties to bring about peace and move forward together. #IndiaTogether," said current India skipper Kohli.
"Reaching a solution that benefits our great nation is of utmost importance right now. Let's stand together and move forward together towards a better and brighter future. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda," wrote India batsman Shikhar Dhawan.
"We as a country have issues to resolve today and will have issues to resolve tomorrow as well, but that doesn't mean we create a divide or get perturbed by external forces. Everything can be resolved through amicable and unbiased dialogue. #IndiaAgainstPropaganda #IndiaTogether," tweeted former India cricketer Suresh Raina.
Former India captain Anil Kumble tweeted: "As the world's largest democracy, India is more than capable of taking her internal issues to amicable solutions. Onwards and upwards. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda."
"Outside forces have been trying to divide us, rule over us for centuries. But India remains & will thrive come what may! Use your billions, try your best! This is the New India #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropoganda," tweeted cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir.
"India always has a great tradition of diverse views on all subjects. We may not agree with each other all the time but most of us don't like someone interfering and commentating on our internal matters because we rarely do that. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda," said former India fast bowler RP Singh.
"My country is proud of our farmers and knows how important they are, I trust it will be addressed soon. We don't need an outsider poking her nose in our internal matters!" tweeted former India spinner Pragyan Ojha.
Apart from Rihanna, Lebanese-American former adult star Mia Khalifa and environmental activist Greta Thunberg had also expressed their concern for the protesting farmers in India.
In response, the Indian government described them as part of "vested interest groups" and their support as "sensationalist social media hashtags and comments" which are "neither accurate nor responsible."
The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying: "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 said.
The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector, the government explained. "These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming."
The government said that a very small section of farmers in parts of India has some reservations about these reforms.
"Respecting the sentiments of the protesters, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union Ministers have been part of the negotiations, and eleven rounds of talks have already been held. The government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India."
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted contentious farm laws.
The laws, however, have been put on hold by the Supreme Court.