Climate activist Greta Thunberg accidentally shared a message she received on Twitter about the ongoing farmers’ revolt in India, sparking a police investigation and a political firestorm, according to reports.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped out at the Indian capital’s fringes to protest new agricultural laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations. The drama has gripped India for more than two months.
The 18-year-old eco-activist quickly deleted the message that gave her tips on what to post, and asked her to tag other celebrities about the protests, including pop star Rihanna.
Times Now claims the original message was created by the Poetic Justice Foundation, a Canadian group whose website confirms it is “most actively involved in the #FarmersProtest”.
The group shared to Facebook a series of screenshots of posts it appears to have persuaded international celebrities to share, Indian news agency ANI said.
India’s foreign ministry issued a rare statement accusing “foreign individuals” and celebrities of “sensationalism” and “trying to enforce their agenda”.
Delhi police on Thursday confirmed that it had launched a criminal case against the creators of the original message that Thunberg shared. “The call was to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India,” the police said.
One Indian minister, VK Singh, said that Thunberg’s deleted tweet “revealed the real designs of a conspiracy at an international level against India”.
A series of high-profile Indian celebrities also joined the attack on foreign celebrities getting involved in the farmers’ revolt.
Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut even called the protesting farmers “terrorists” and Rihanna a “fool” for her widely shared tweet that asked her 100 million Twitter followers, “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”
Thunberg remained defiant Thursday. “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest,” she tweeted Thursday morning.
“No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that.”