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Weekly News Highlights: From Rihanna’s tweet to Uttarakhand glacier blast, everything you need to know about the past week

From International starts to the opposition, everyone is talking about farmers’ protest now


Rihanna’s tweet gives rise to India Against propaganda and India Together narrative

International pop star Rihanna on Tuesday became the first global name to extend support to the ongoing farmers’ protest in India. What months-long protests couldn’t do, one tweet has left Indian celebrities talking about it.

The 32-year-old Barbadian singer shared a news article on Twitter headlined, ‘India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police’, and tweeted “Why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest.”

Later, she found support from other internationally famous people including climate activist Greta Thunberg, former adult film actress Mia Khalifa, Lawyer and US Vice-President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, Athlete Juhu Smith-Schuster, Youtuber Lily Singh, Vlogger Amanda Cerny, comedian Hasan Minhaj, and more.

While some celebrities supported Rihanna, others asked her not to intervene in the internal matter of India. In fact, India’s External Affairs Ministry reacted sharply to comments made by foreign celebrities and others, saying one needs to properly understand the matter before making a comment on the demonstrations. The MEA said that it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups are trying to enforce their agenda on the protest and derail them. In a statement, the MEA said, “The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible.”

Read more: Shaibal Gupta: Demise of an institution in Bihar

rihanna tweet
Image Source – India Today

Indian politicians, movie stars, and cricketers responded to International celeb’s stance on farmers’ protest by condemning their social media posts and putting out tweets with the hashtags ‘IndiaAgainstPropaganda’ and ‘IndiaTogether’. Almost all the Union cabinet leaders including Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, JP Nadda, Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted on the issue.

Bollywood stars like Kangana Ranaut, Pragyan Ojha, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Karan Johar, Sunil Shetty, sports personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Rohit Sharma, Saina Nehwal, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and many other celebrities took part in the Twitter war of words.

Thousands of farmers in India have been protesting at several Delhi border points and in Punjab for more than 70 days, seeking repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee of MSP on their produce.

Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia granted bail

Mandeep Punia, a freelance journalist, who was arrested by the Delhi Police from the Singhu border while he was covering the farmers’ protest, was granted bail by Delhi court on February 3. His arrest had sparked outrage within the journalists’ community seeking the release of the freelance journalist.

After coming out of the jail, Mandeep said that he got the chance to meet the farmers in jail, whom he asked why and when they were arrested. He said that he scribbled notes on his legs in Tihar jail so he could file his reports.

The freelance journalist was arrested on January 30 from the Singhu border and charged for offences under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), Sections 186 (obstructing any public servant while discharging public functions), and Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the IPC.

Opposition attacks on BJP government in Rajya Sabha

Opposition leaders launched a vociferous attack on the central government over its handling of the farmers’ protests, calling the government’s dialogues with demonstrators “monologues”, even as the ruling BJP defended the new agriculture laws asserting that the government is committed to the welfare of farmers and increase their incomes.

Opposition parties attacked the government saying instead of building bridges with the protesting farmers, barbed wires have been out up, trenches have been dug and spikes have been installed at the sites of farmers’ protests.

Pointing fingers at PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government, RJD leader Manoj Jha said the ruling party must understand the pain of the farmers. Manoj Jha sarcastically said that such aggressive approach was not even heard against those who try to infiltrate into the Indian territory.

Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda, while participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address said that government has no right to question the patriotism of farmers as they have made India, self-sufficient in food.

Chakka Jam across country

New Delhi turned into a virtual fortress after heavy deployment of security forces on Saturday ahead of the protesting farmers’ “chakka jam” demonstration across the country. The security was beefed despite an assurance of the farmers’ union leaders that “road-blockade” won’t take place in New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Thousands of farmers across the several states of the country blocked roads with boulders and vehicles to demand a repeal of the three farm laws. No major incident of violence was reported during the “Chakka Jam.”

Uttarakhand Glacier Blast

Rescue teams were rushed to Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Sunday after a glacier burst caused flash floods killing several people. A glacier burst in Reni village of Chamoli in Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand on Sunday morning caused a flash flood in Rishiganga river. The flood is likely to have claimed as many as 150 lives.

The Union government later said that the danger of flooding in lower area has subsided and they announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per lives lost.

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