International pop star Rihanna on Tuesday became the first global name to voice her support to the ongoing farmers agitation while criticising the internet shutdown at the protest site.
The 32-year-old singer, who has over 100 million followers on Twitter, took to the microblogging site and shared a CNN news article headlined, "India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police." "Why aren't we talking about this? #FarmersProtest," Rihanna wrote.
Now, Indians around the world have been Googling facts about the songstress, and picking on her past to make a case around her stance.
While some have hit a new low by lauding Riri’s ex Chris Brown for abusing her, others are pulling up pictures from her gigs and portraying her as a ‘porn singer’.
While, Rihanna isn’t new to courting controversies, especially on the religious front, here’s a fun fact about the Grammy winning musician.
In 2009, Rihanna grabbed the spotlight for her Sanskrit tattoo inspired by the holy text of Bhagavad Gita.
The “Umbrella” hitmaker was said to have got the artwork done on her hip by New York artist BangBang.
However, Australian Sanskrit expert Mark Fielden claimed that the text is incorrectly written.
"Rihanna’s tattoo inspired by the holy text of Gita is incorrectly written", claims an Aussie expert.
According to Fielden, the script, first part of which means “forgiveness, honesty, suppression and control”, is spelt wrong.
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s tweet gained instant traction on Twitter.
Bollywood actors Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker, who have been vocal supporters of the agitation, lauded Rihanna's remarks, while others criticised her statement.
India on Wednesday reacted sharply to comments by Rihanna on farmers' protests, saying a very small section of farmers in parts of the country have some reservations about the farm reforms and a proper understanding of the issue is needed before rushing to comment on the agitation.
"The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a curt statement.
The MEA's reaction came after several international celebrities and activists including American pop singer Rihanna and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted about the farmers' protest in India.
The ministry also said the Parliament of India passed the reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector, and noted that some of the vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against India.
"We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India's democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse," the statement said.
Asserting that "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 ministry said the "temptation of sensationalist" social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is "neither accurate nor responsible".
Farmer unions on Monday announced a countrywide 'chakka jam' on February 6 when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
Sites of the farmer protest at Delhi's borders have turned into fortresses with the police beefing up security and putting up multi-layer barricades to stop the movement of vehicles. Barbed wire has also been put up to keep off people on foot.
The strengthened security measures at the agitation sites across the Delhi borders come after the violence during the Republic day tractor parade by protesting farmers in which 394 security personnel were injured.