Maharashtra Govt to probe if celebrities, Cricketers tweeted under pressure in support of Farm Laws

Political News, National, Mumbai, February 8:-The Maharashtra government will probe celebrities, including Bharat Ratna recipients such as cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and singer Lata Mangeshkar, who had tweeted in support of the Centre on farm laws.

The development comes a day after the Congress demanded a probe by the police into the tweets to find out if the celebrities were pressure by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take to social media in support of the Centre. State Congress’s general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant met state home minister Anil Deshmukh with the demand of the probe.

Sawant was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times that there was a “similar pattern behind these tweets by the celebrities including Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal. The contents of the tweets by Nehwal and Kumar are same while Shetty had tagged a BJP leader. This shows that there was a communication between the celebrities and the ruling party leaders. It needs to be investigated if there was any pressure from the BJP on these national heroes for such advocacy on the social media. If so, these celebrities need to be given more protection”.

Deshmukh said: “Our state intelligence department will enquire if the tweets were sent in a synchronised manner. The timing of all the tweets, and the coordinated manner in which they were sent out indicates a line of action and that this was planned”. He also singled out the tweet of Suniel Shetty, who he said had tagged a BJP member in his post.

Several celebrities took to Twitter on February 3 after international personalities such as Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg expressed support for the farmers’ protest. The tweets came with hashtags such as #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether, framed by the ministry of external affairs.

The move was criticised in several quarters, with veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar warning the cricket legend to be more careful while commenting on farmers’ issues. “I would suggest to Sachin (Tendulkar) that he should be careful while speaking on the issues related to other fields,” Pawar said.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray also reiterated what Pawar said. “The government shouldn’t make this mistake again. Lata Mangeshkar, Sachin Tendulkar are big but very simple people. They are having to face the ire of people because of what the government asked them to tweet,” he said.

As international coverage of farmers’ protests increased, the Ministry of External Affairs put out a statement saying that comments by celebrities tweeting on the issue were “neither accurate nor responsible”.

“It was unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26,” the ministry said as it called out the “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments”.

“Some of these vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere,” it said.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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