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Maharashtra government to probe celebrities, cricketers who tweeted in support of Center's farm laws

The Maharashtra government's order came after the Congress demanded that the police should look into all the tweets that were shared by celebrities to find out if they were pressured by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) to do so.

February 08, 2021 / 05:10 PM IST
Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders have seen massive mobilisation of protesters over the past two months.

Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders have seen massive mobilisation of protesters over the past two months.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has ordered a probe to find out if celebrities and cricketers were under any political pressure to tweet in support of the Centre's farm laws after Rihanna and Greta Thunberg brought international attention to the ongoing farmers' protest in the country.

In order to counter tweets by international celebrities, Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, producer-director Karan Johar and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, among others, had backed the Centre’s call to stand united against “propaganda” against India’s policies last week.

Deshmukh on February 8 on Twitter shared his zoom meeting with State Congress’s general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant who had demanded a probe into the matter.

Sawant sought to find out if the celebrities were pressured by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to tweet in favour of the farm laws, after quite an international outrage regarding the protests.

Despite being tested positive for COVID-19, Deshmukh arranged for a meeting and assured them that lawful action will be taken, saying that the state intelligence department will look into the matter.

"There was a series of tweets after the MEA's response to Rihanna's tweet. If a person opines on their own, it's fine, but there's the scope of suspicion that the BJP could be behind this...Spoke to HM Deshmukh. He has given orders to Intelligence dept to probe," ANI quoted Sawant as saying.

After the international pop singer Rihanna and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg supported the farmer's agitation on Twitter, many personalities came out saying that this is "India's internal matter" last week.

They tweeted with the statement that was shared by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and used hashtags such as #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether, which were also framed by the ministry.

This was heavily criticised by many, including NCP leader Sharad Pawar and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray. They asked celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar to be careful when talking about issues regarding other fields, and criticised the government for asking the celebrities to tweet.

As international coverage of the farmers' protest increased, the MEA also put out a statement saying that comments by international celebrities tweeting on the issue were "neither accurate nor responsible".

“It was unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26," the ministry said as it called out the “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments”.
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