Tweets by Rihanna, Greta Thunberg a wake up call, says Chidambaram

Congress leader compares them to MEA’s comments on neighbourhood; differs from Rahul

People concerned with human rights and livelihood issues don’t recognise boundaries, Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidamabaram said late on Wednesday night with reference to tweets by singer Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) described the tweets by Ms. Rihanna and Ms. Thunberg, both of whom have announced their support for the farmers’ agitation, as “sensationalist”.

Mr. Chidambaram, however, backed them in a series of tweets.

The former finance minister’s position on Twitter, however, seemed to differ from the views of his former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who called the farmers’ protests an “internal matter” at a press conference earlier in the day.

“It is good that Rihanna and Greta Thunberg can wake up the MEA [Ministry of External Affairs]. Come on MEA, when will you realize that people concerned with issues of human rights and livelihoods do not recognize national boundaries?” Mr. Chidambaram asked in a series of tweets.

He compared the tweets to the MEA commenting on issues pertaining to other countries, or Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comment on violence at the U.S.’ Capitol Hill.

“Why did MEA comment on the military coup in Myanmar? Why is it ‘deeply concerning’ to the MEA? Why does MEA regularly comment on issues that are ‘internal’ to Sri Lanka and Nepal?” he posed.

He also asked: “Why did the PM of India comment on the assault on the Capitol building in Washington by the Trump storm troopers? It is sad that someone erudite and worldly wise like Mr S Jaishankar should allow such puerile reactions by the MEA.”

Another Congress MP and former minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, said that the pushback by Indian celebrities on the social media platform countering the tweets by Ms. Rihanna and Ms. Thunberg won’t help improve the government’s image.

“For Government of India to get Indian celebrities to react to Western ones is embarrassing. The damage done to India’s global image by GoI’s obduracy & undemocratic behaviour can’t be remedied by a cricketer’s tweets. Withdraw the farm laws & discuss solutions w/farmers &you’ll get #IndiaTogether,” Mr. Tharoor tweeted late.

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