On Tuesday international pop star Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg tweeted their support for the ongoing farmers' protest in India. "Why aren't we talking about this?" wrote the American singer in a post addressed to her 101 million followers and linking a CNN report on the protests.
Predictably she has been lauded and slammed equally by the right and left. Of the latter, Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut called her a "fool" and described the "farmers" as "terrorists trying to divide India."
On the same day, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg also spoke up in support of the farmers in India, expressing solidarity with their cause.
Although these latest words of support from two big-ticket celebrities have put the spotlight on the protests, other global voices have been speaking up since last year as the farmers' held on to their demands.
In December, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concerns over Narendra Modi government's retaliation against peaceful protests. A few days later, India's external affairs ministry dubbed his statement as "unacceptable interference" in India's internal affairs. Shortly afterwards, hundreds of peaceful protestors gathered outside the Indian consulate in Toronto and Vancouver. Around the same time, some 1,500 people from the Indian community in New Zealand had also gathered in a square in Auckland to express their support for the farmers.
In December, 36 members of Parliament from the UK's Labour Party asked British foreign secretary Dominic Raab to express their concerns over the treatment of the farmers with his Indian counterpart. British-Sikh cricketer Monty Panesar and filmmaker Gurinder Chadha of Bend It Like Beckham fame also tweeted about the protests.
Rallies were held since December in front of the Indian consulates in major cities across the United States as well, including San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Indianapolis, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Apart from peaceful civilian protests and calls by governments of various nations to treat the farmers with humanity and compassion, officials from international bodies like United Nations, International Monetary Fund and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have also noted the movement.
In a recent statement, HRW condemned the criminal charges levied by the Indian state against some of the journalists who covered the clashes that erupted among the farmers and the police in Delhi on Republic Day on 26 January.
“The Indian authorities’ response to protests has focused on discrediting peaceful protesters, harassing critics of the government, and prosecuting those reporting on the events,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW. “The government instead should conduct a transparent and impartial investigation into the January 26 violence in Delhi.”
Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was arrested from the Singhu border where a large number of farmers have gathered since the last couple of months, was released on bail on Tuesday.
The farmers have been protesting against the three newly enacted farm laws by the government of India. They believe these legislations are going to harm their commercial interests.