Popstar Rihanna has become one of the sudden and unusual targets of the Indian government after she expressed concern regarding the ongoing farmers’ protest. “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” Rihanna tweeted. She shared a link to a CNN news article with her 100 million followers, thus giving the agitation exposure across the world.

Rihanna’s tweet was followed by similar reactions from other international celebrities. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, US Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, American actress Amanda Cerni, YouTuber Lilly Singh, US House Representative Jim Costa and UK MP Claudia Web also showed solidarity to the farmers protest.

Rihanna received backlash and was severely trolled as pro-government supporters accused her of accepting money in exchange for a tweet. However, at the same time, several Indians thanked the pop star for bringing the much-needed global attention to the issue.

The tweets drew the ire of the Indian government and prompted a response. In an official statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, it said that “it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them”.

“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” it added. The MEA’s also used two social media hashtags in its statement: “#IndiaTogether” and “#IndiaAgainstPropaganda”.

The statement was followed by tweets from India’s union ministers, Bollywood celebrities and sportspersons. Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrote, “No propaganda can deter India’s unity! No propaganda can stop India to attain new heights! Propaganda cannot decide India’s fate only ‘Progress’ can. India stands united and together to achieve progress.”

Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Karan Johar, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were among the celebrities that tweeted using the MEA’s hashtags.