World

Meena Harris Doubles Down on Support to Farmers, Slams 'Militant Nationalism'

The lawyer, who is US vice president Kamala Harris' niece, also demanded the release of rights activist Nodeep Kaur.

New Delhi: Meena Harris, an American lawyer, writer and a niece of US vice president Kamala Harris,  has reacted to the backlash from right-wing forces in India for extending her support to the ongoing farmers’ agitation, through a series of tweets.

Her tweets suggest that she won’t be intimidated or silenced and the feisty lawyer stated on the social media platform, “This isn’t just about agricultural policy. It’s also about the persecution of a vocal religious minority. Its police violence, militant nationalism, and attacks on labour rights. Its global authoritarianism. Don’t tell me to stay out of your affairs. These are all of our issues.”

Reacting to her photo being burnt by a group called “United Hindu Front” for her statement on social media, she termed it a “weird” experience and also called those behind it an “extremist mob”.

“I spoke out in support of human rights for Indian farmers and look at the response,” she tweeted.

Significantly, Harris also raised the arrest of the rights activist Nodeep Kaur from a farmers’ protest site around Delhi and her alleged sexual assault in custody. “Imagine what they would do if we lived in India. I will tell you — 23 year old labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted in police custody. She’s been detained without bail for over 20 days.”

Meena Harris is one of several international personalities who have raised their voice against the police crackdown on the farmers who have been demanding that the Narendra Modi government roll back three farm laws. Her tweets came three days after pop sensation Rihanna asked on Twitter why nobody was talking about the farmers protest in India, which was followed by a tweet by young environment activist Greta Thunberg, who supported of the agitation.

In a rare move, India’s external affairs ministry issued a statement in reaction, calling the protests India’s internal matter. Additionally, responding to the global support to the farmers on social media, the Delhi Police filed a first information report (FIR) claiming an international conspiracy to defame India. A number of Indian celebrities from Bollywood and the cricketing world were seen tweeting in support of the government in a seemingly organised fashion.

Hindu right-wing propaganda and news sites, reacting strongly to Meena Harris’s support to the farmers’ movement,  called her act “madness” and also that she is becoming “a problem” to the White House.

Harris has continued to tweet on these issues, reiterating her support to the farmers’ protest.

Meanwhile, on February 6, Oscar-winning actor and activist Susan Sarandon too joined the global fraternity in extending social media in support to the farmers’ protest. Sharing a Twitter thread on the protest from her handle, she wrote, “Standing in solidarity with farmers protest in India. Read about who they are and why they are protesting below.”