CNN : Indians are telling their 18 million-strong diaspora to keep out of their affairs
Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting in and around the capital, New Delhi, over new rules and regulations that they say could impoverish them. The government has responded with internet shutdowns in some areas, while security forces have arrested protesters and tried to block demonstrations.
The protests have exposed a gulf between the nationalist sentiment cultivated by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at home and the deeply felt concern among some of those of Indian heritage elsewhere. And at the heart of this war of words lies the complex question of who can legitimately claim to be Indian and who has the right to challenge perceived injustices in the country.
Harris is joined by a plethora of other celebrities of Indian descent in her condemnations of Modi’s government and India’s security forces. Several Indian-Canadians — including the politician Jagmeet Singh, the poet Rupi Kaur and the comedian Lilly Singh — have voiced their support for the farmers, as has the Indian-British singer Jay Sean and Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj.
Like Harris, many of these Indians abroad are being put in the basket of Western celebrities who are also stoking anger in India. Singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg put a global spotlight on the farmers’ movement when they tweeted a CNN story on the issue to their millions of followers. Mia Khalifa, a Lebanese-American former celebrity and former adult film star, has also been vocally supportive of the farmers. Images of all three were burned alongside that of Harris on a four-headed effigy.
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