Reacting sharply to the tweets by celebrities, lawmakers, and other individuals from outside India in support of the ongoing farmers’ protest, the Central Government, through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said that it is “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests and derail them.”

The MEA has issued a detailed statement stating that the farm laws in question were passed by the Parliament of India only after a “full debate and discussion” to improve and reform the Indian agricultural sector.

Anurag Srivastava, the Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs posted a Press Statement on the said comments on the farmers’ protests on the official Twitter handle of the Ministry.

“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.

“Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India’s Republic Day. A cherished national commemoration, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism took place in the Indian capital.

“Some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilise international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere.

“Indian police forces have handled these protests with utmost restraint. It may be noted that hundreds of men and women serving in the police have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded.

“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.

“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,” reads the statement with the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.

World-renowned teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has extended her support to the farmers saying that she stands in solidarity with the farmers.

“We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The teen activist’s post on the micro-blogging site came after Rihanna shared a news article highlighting the Centre’s crackdown on the farmers by cutting off internet services in many regions.

“Why aren’t we talking about this?!”, wrote Rihanna, as she added the hashtag #FarmersProtest along with the post on the micro-blogging site.

UK Member of Parliament Claudia Webbe also expressed solidarity with the Indian farmers.

“Solidarity to the Indian Farmers. Thank you Rihanna. In an era where political leadership is lacking we are grateful for others stepping forward,” she wrote along with sharing a screenshot of Rihanna’s tweet.

Author and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena, also showed her support on social media towards the agitating farmers as well.

“It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault,” she wrote on Twitter.

“This is related. We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters,” she added.

Harris wrote further, “Militant nationalism is just as potent a force in US politics as it is in India or anyplace else. It can only be stopped if people wake up to the reality that FASCIST DICTATORS aren’t going anywhere.”

US House Representative Jim Costa also called the ongoing unrest as troubling and added that the situation is being closely monitored.

“The unfolding events in India are troubling. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am closely monitoring the situation. The right to peaceful protest must always be respected. #FarmersProtest,” Costa wrote.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government has extended the suspension of mobile internet services in several districts of the state till 5 pm on February 3.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Other notable tweets include:

(With PTI inputs)