Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shatrughan Sinha, amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation brouhaha, on Friday, praised international celebrity activists like Greta Thune and singer Rehanna for expressing their opinions on an issue that has consumed the nation for the past couple of months.
"This tweet business by international celebrities, we highly appreciate that. After all, our own Prime Minister has said a couple of times that we are living in a global community. It is not only an issue of India but the issue of our farmers who have been sitting for 70-75 days for their most justified demands and almost zero-degree temperatures and facing all the obstacles," Sinha, who joined the Congress Party after he was denied Lok Sabha ticket by the BJP in 2019, said.
"They have shown the new face of an andolan (protest) which is being highly appreciated all over the world. And today the world celebrities like Greta Thunberg or Rihanna or Kamala Harris's niece. They have shown their concern and as a citizen of the global community, I highly appreciate that," he said as reported by the NDTV.
"What is the harm? And what has Rihanna written? She said 'Why are we not talking about the farmers' issue'. This is something we all must. Farmers deserve justice," Sinha said.
The former Bollywood superstar further said that the talking point issued by the Modi/Shah to criticize Thune, Rihanna, US Vice President Kamala Harris’ sister and others was a well-coordinated effort by the BJP to silence any and all voice of dissent.
“When Modiji injected himself in the US elections by saying ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’, wasn’t he interfering in the affairs of a foreign nation?” Sinha asked adding raising voices against atrocities around the world did not amount to interfering in foreign affairs.
“Raising voice against Nazi suppression of Jews in Germany is not interference either. When we talk about Tiananmen Square, China, it doesn't mean we are interfering in China's internal affairs. So, if they are showing their concern, love and affection, it should be appreciated," he said.
The former actor also lashed out at Bollywood and Sports celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar, though without taking their names, for posting ‘similar’ tweets against the farmers’ agitation.
“These are very nice people and hold them in very high regards but how is it that their tweets are nearly identical. Are they under some sort of pressure to say things that they won’t otherwise say?” he said.
Sinha has a long history of speaking against the powers that be beginning with his rebellion against the Indira Gandhi regime in the ‘70s when he, along with some other Bollywood bigwigs like late superstar Dev Anand and late character actor and villain Pran, spoke out against the Emergency that eventually gave birth to the Janata Party that later morphed into the the current shape of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).