At a time when several international celebrities have extended their support to the ongoing farmers’ protest, the US has urged the Indian government to recognise peaceful protests and allow access to the internet. The new US administration under President Joe Biden has said that unhindered access to information, including the internet, and peaceful protests are hallmarks of a thriving democracy.
The remarks were made by a US State Department spokesperson in response to questions over the farmers’ protest and the Centre’s move to block the internet near the protest sits. The spokesperson added that the US would encourage that any differences between the parties should be resolved through dialogue.
“In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment,” the spokesperson added, in remarks seen to indicate support for the farm laws pitched by the government as long-overdue reforms in the agriculture sector.
Centre’s stinging response to celebrity tweets
The support extended by international celebrities and activists to the ongoing farmers’ protest in India has not gone down well with the Union government. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also issued a stinging response to the hullaballoo created around the farmers’ protest.
It said that the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible. Notably, the development comes after Barbadian singer and actress Rihanna, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and adult star Mia Khalifa tweeted in support of the farmers’ protest.
Apart from the Centre, several celebrities from the Hindi film industry and sports also registered their protest against the tweets made by the international celebrities.
The ministry in a press statement on Wednesday said: “The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector. These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming.”
“A very small section of farmers in parts of India have some reservations about these reforms. Respecting the sentiments of the protestors, 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.”
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