International pop star Rihanna is "anti-national", BJP leader Sambit Patra said on Wednesday, February 3, reacting to the singer's six-word tweet in support of farmers' protests in India.
Sambit Patra also attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for trying to score political brownie points on a subject he knew nothing about, reported NDTV.
"Rihanna and Rahul both know nothing about farmers... about crops, but both are tweeting on this issue. Where were these people when Gandhi's statue was attacked? Why didn't these international celebs tweet then?" the BJP leader asked.
"Did they tweet when Kashmiri Pandits are taken out? Did they tweet when Delhi Police got injured with swords on January 26? None of these international activists tweeted then. Rahul Gandhi goes abroad meets anti-India elements... whether it is Rihanna or Mia Khalifa. It is all propaganda to defame India. These are anti-national elements," he asked
Rihanna took to Twitter on February 2 to extend her support to the farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against the centre's three contentious farm laws.
She tweeted to her 100 million followers: "Why aren't we talking about this?" and shared an article on the farmers' protest.
That tweet triggered mixed reactions from netizens on the social media platform-including attack by Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut who alleged an attempt to divide India and called the singer a "fool". While some came out in support of international attention, others called it a "national affair" and said that India is not answerable to anyone.
Soon after Rihanna's tweet went viral, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, American and British politicians, and Lebanese-American former adult film star Mia Khalifa also came out in support of farmers protesting in India.
With international voices drawing the global attention to protests in India, the government warned against the "temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments" and said that the protests were by "a very small section of farmers" in parts of India.