International celebrity Rihanna, whose tweet caused a political storm in India and bring the months-long farmers’ protest before an international audience, was allegedly paid $2.5 million (Rs 18 crore) by a Public Relations firm Skyrocket with alleged Khalistani links, a report by The Print claims.
Mo Dhaliwal, the founder of the controversial organisation Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) is one of the Directors of this PR firm. The Print’s report claims that PJF played a vital role in making the issue of farmer protest global and it is backed by political leaders of Canada.
The MEA put out a statement, which is said to be in response to Rihana’s tweet, saying that some interest groups are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests, and only a minor number of farmers in the country have problems with the farm reforms which were passed by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion. Many Indian celebrities including cricketers and Bollywood actors tweeted asking people to stay clear of propaganda.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has appreciated the global attention which the protest is beginning to get. It is an umbrella body of 41 farm unions managing the agitation. Other than Rihanna and Thunberg, Meena Harris, an American lawyer and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, influencer Amanda Cerny, singers Jay Sean, Dr Zeus and former adult star Mia Khalifa have expressed their support to the protesting farmers. Rihanna was the first global star to express her support to the ongoing farmers agitation.
Rihana has 101 million followers on Twitter and is one of the most followed celebrities internationally. She shared a CNN news article based on farmer protests in India. She wrote that “Why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest,”. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg also took to Twitter to say, “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.”