Rihanna tweets about Indian farmers clash, coup in Myanmar, actor calls her 'fool' and protesters 'terrorists'
Popstar Rihanna has championed several causes in the past. She has spoken about women’s education and rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, the ‘Rude Boy’ singer has taken to talking about two international events. She tweeted on Tuesday, February 2, first about the farmers’ protest going on in India, that recently saw a terrific clash with law enforcement, and then about Myanmar, where on Monday, the military, which had ruled the country for nearly five decades, seized power again in a coup.
why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest https://t.co/obmIlXhK9S— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
my prayers are with you #myanmar! https://t.co/GMYqA5BHM8— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
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What’s happening in India?
The ‘Umbrella’ hitmaker shared a CNN news report from Monday about how internet access remained blocked in several areas surrounding India's capital, New Delhi, following violent clashes between police and farmers protesting controversial agricultural reforms on January 26.
The article said that while officials said internet blackouts should have lifted on Sunday night, Paramjeet Singh Katyal, a spokesperson for Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body representing protesting farmers, said the internet was still not working as of Monday.
Republic Day, celebrated as a national holiday in India on January 26, saw clashes break out in New Delhi between the police and farmers, who have been protesting for almost two months against three new agricultural laws that they consider a threat to their livelihoods. Farmers had reportedly shared the protest route with law enforcement agencies in advance, but chaos erupted when some farmers attempted to deviate from the approved path. Police reportedly used tear gas, sound grenades, and even thrashed protesters with batons.
Indian journalist, author, columnist Rana Ayyub wrote in The Washington Post in the aftermath of the violence, “Tuesday's unfortunate events could have been avoided if [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] could shed his brazen arrogance and replace it with compassion for the farmers who sleep on an empty stomach while fighting the hegemony of crony capitalists who are seen to be winning this battle. The farmers are asking the country’s leader, who himself rose from poverty, not to deprive them of their painfully earned sustenance to fill the pockets of the industrialists who fund the ruling party.”
Rihanna’s tweet on the farmers’ plight was met with both support and resistance from Indians. While many welcomed international attention to this movement, others asked why the Barbadian singer, actress, and businesswoman had any say in the matter at all. The most prominent among the latter was actor Kangana Ranaut, whose Twitter was temporarily locked down after she had called for violence against the makers of an Amazon Prime Video series called ‘Tandav’. The now-deleted tweet said that it was "time to take their heads off". Ranaut has also been extremely vocal against the protesting farmers, and has often called them “terrorists”.
Responding to Rihanna, Ranaut wrote, “No one is talking about it because they are not farmers they are terrorists who are trying to divide India, so that China can take over our vulnerable broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like USA... Sit down you fool, we are not selling our nation like you dummies.”
No one is talking about it because they are not farmers they are terrorists who are trying to divide India, so that China can take over our vulnerable broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like USA...— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) February 2, 2021
Sit down you fool, we are not selling our nation like you dummies. https://t.co/OIAD5Pa61a
What’s happening in Myanmar?
On Monday morning, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and her top lieutenants were detained in raids, as the military reasserted its grip on the country with a coup against a government that had been in power for only five years. As per a Washington Post report, hundreds of members of Myanmar’s Parliament remained confined inside their government housing in the country’s capital the day after the coup orchestrated by commander in chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
As per the New York Times, rounding up of critics of the military continued into Monday night, and the nation’s telecommunications networks suffered constant interruptions.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party released a statement calling for the military to honor the results of last November’s election and release all of those detained. “The commander-in-chief seizing the power of the nation is against the constitution and it also neglects the sovereign power of people,” the party said in a statement.