Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday found herself in an unseemly controversy after her tweets created a social media storm and revealed what many feel is an insidious plot to create chaos in India by intensifying the farmers protests in the country.
The 18-year-old climate activist tweeted, and then quickly deleted, a ‘toolkit’ which clearly reveals that the ‘global support’ to the farmers’ protest seems to be a well-scripted plan and that there is nothing spontaneous about it.
The Delhi Police on Friday lodged an FIR against the creators of the toolkit that Greta Thunberg had tweeted while showing support to farmers' protests in India and charged unknown persons under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) for trying to incite violence in India.
Plan to intensify protests in India
The ‘toolkit’ in Thunberg's tweet outlined a detailed plan on how to intensify the farmers protests globally from before January 26. The document, which Great Thunberg accidentally tweeted, seems to have been around from much before the unprecedented havoc that took place in Delhi on January 26 leading to hundreds of violent farmers attacking policemen with swords, sticks and stones and trying to run them over with tractors.
The document also urged people to participate in the farmers’ tractor rally which went horribly violent. Many believe that Thunberg is a mere pawn in this and is being used by forces inimical to India to further their agenda.
Tweet deleted to hide the ‘toolkit’
Even as the document was made public, discussions over the explosive nature of the document pervaded social media platforms. No sooner did Twitter erupt over the issue than access to the document was restricted and Thunberg deleted her tweet.
It was clear that the mistake, of making the toolkit public inadvertently, forced the creators of the document to quickly edit it and put out a watered down version which removed all references to the January 26 mayhem, to ‘fascist ruling BJP-RSS’, ‘Ambani-Adani’, etc, which is the language used by a certain section of political parties and anti-conservative groups in India.
The 'toolkit' -- Ask India Why. Global Farmer Strike First Wave’ -- gave instructions on how to target the Indian government and some corporates houses. It called for a TwitterStorm on February 4 and 5, urged action to divest from ‘monopolists and oligopolists’ like Adani-Ambani, and goaded people to organise on-ground ‘physical action’ near Indian embassies, media houses, government buildings and ‘Ambani-Adani offices’ on Feb 13 and 14, and to share pictures of these protests.
Defiant Greta supports farmers regardless of ‘hate’
Meanwhile, soon after the Delhi Police filed an FIR against her, a defiant Thunberg tweeted that she would still support the farmers’ ‘peaceful protest’ regardless of hate and threats. Twitterati were quick on pounce on this, saying it is pretty rich of the 18-year-old activist to talk about hate after the document she deleted only propagated hate against India, its government and some corporates.
Scripted protest, canned tweets
Several international celebrities and activists, including American pop singer Rihanna and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, had tweeted about the farmers' protest in India. But even the very tweet that Rihanna posted in favour of the farmers was scripted for her, along with the article and the hashtags she attached to her tweet (see image below).
The deleted toolkit made exaggerated claims, such as ‘India has shown the world that to protect the business interests of billionaires Ambani and Adani, they will brutalize, arrest, and kill their citizens’. It also misguides people into believing that all farmers in India are protesting, which is a lie as only those from Punjab and Haryana, and some from parts of Uttar Pradesh, are opposing the new farm laws.
Many farmer unions across India are supporting the farm laws, a fact which the ‘toolkit’ conveniently hides.
The Twitter war and the apparent bid to malign India soon led to a barrage of countering tweets from many Indian celebrities, like former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin said that India's sovereignty cannot be compromised and external forces cannot become participants.
However, these tweets from many cricket and Bollywood stars did not go down very well with some ‘liberals’, who have taken to trolling Indian icons who spoke about unity and supported the government.
Untruths pedalled to malign India
Some ill-informed overseas ‘journalists’ jumped to the defence of the 18-year-old climate activist, trying to brush the plot under the carpet as if it is just a plan to help Indian farmers on social media. In doing so not only do they expose their own illiteracy about Indian farm laws, but are also peddling a lie lending further credibility to the belief that this seems to be a part of a plot to defame and destabilise India.
Many on Twitter have also pointed out that while everyone could see the violence that armed rioters indulged in, the document continues to refer to them as ‘peaceful’ farmers.
Despite extreme provocation, the Delhi Police were restrained and this helped in avoiding any deaths even during a violent Republic Day protest. One farmer, who died in the protest, was killed when his tractor overturned as he tried to slam it through a barricade.
Some on Twitter are saying that the devious thing about this plan is that it has been in place for months (as is evident from the original ‘toolkit’) and aims to keep India on a boil by using farmers as a means to create disorder.
The detail that the ‘toolkit’ gets into clearly show that this has not been done in a hurry, but is the handiwork of a well-funded, propagandist machine working to fan fire and show India in bad light.
India slams foreign celebs
India on Wednesday reacted sharply to comments by foreign celebrities and others, including pop singer Rihanna on farmers' protests, saying a very small section of farmers in parts of the country have some reservations about the farm reforms and a proper understanding of the issue is needed before rushing to comment on the agitation.
'The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,' the Ministry of External Affairs said in a curt statement.
The MEA's reaction came after several international celebrities and activists including American pop singer Rihanna and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted about the farmers' protest in India.
The ministry also said the Parliament of India passed the reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector, and noted that some of the vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against India.
The document which the climate activist deleted: