BJP parliamentarian Meenakshi Lekhi today joined the growing list of political leaders and celebrities who have been up in arms over foreign nationals' support for the farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi following tweets by pop icon Rihanna. Ms Lekhi's target was teen climate activist and Nobel Peace prize nominee Greta Thunberg, who had tweeted a toolkit to help people show support for the protest.
"Greta Thunberg's tweet is evidence that the conspiracy we had always suspected is still going on," Ms Lekhi told reporters, reflecting the popular stance that the focus of farmers' protest by foreign celebrities and the outpouring of support is a conspiracy against the nation.
The senior BJP leader also questioned why a climate activist should support the farmers have been responsible for stubble burning that has been a health hazard in Delhi and adjoining areas for years.
"The Nobel Prize is given for good practices, for protecting the environment. But here are people who practice stubble burning, pollute the environment, misuse water... how can Greta Thunberg stand with them," she said.
Then in a jibe at the Nobel nomination for the 18-year-old, Ms Lekhi added: "Greta Thunberg is a child. Had it been in my hands, I would have given her an award meant for children (Bal Puraskar) and removed her name from the Nobel nominee list".
In 2014, Pakistan-born Malala Yusoufzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner at the age of 17 for her fight for children's education.
In her earlier tweet, Greta Thunberg said:
Yesterday, amid a huge row over Rihanna's tweet on the farmers' protest, the government had warned against the "temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments". The protests, the government had said, were by "a very small section of farmers".
"Motivated campaigns targeting India will never succeed. We have the self confidence today to hold our own. This India will push back," foreign minister S Jaishankar had said.
Later, Union home minister Amit Shah had tweeted, "No propaganda can deter India's unity! No propaganda can stop India to attain new heights! Propaganda can not decide India's fate only 'Progress' can. India stands united and together to achieve progress".
The pushback against Rihanna's tweet was fuelled by furious responses from actors Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Ajay Devgn, filmmaker Karan Johar, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, Vice captain Ajinkya Rahane, opener Rohit Sharma and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. Actor Kangana Ranaut too had joined in but her abusive tweet was deleted by Twitter.
Besides Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris, an American lawyer and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, actress Amanda Cerni, singers Jay Sean, Dr Zeus and former adult star Mia Khalifa have voiced support for the lakhs of farmers wo have been sitting o protest against the Centre's three farm laws since November.
Following the violence at the tractor rally on Republic Day -- when some farmers veered off the designated rally route and over-ran the iconic Red Fort -- the Delhi Police have strengthened security at the borders, with paramilitary reinforcements, concertina wires, barricades and studding highways with nails.