Just a day after the details of a coordinated global effort to put the Indian Government under pressure was leaked, cricketer Sandeep Sharma tweeted out an image containing a message in support of the Farmer Protests. The message, which has now since been deleted, seemingly criticized Indian citizens who are concerned about the foreign influence in the farmer protests. The message appears to be a response to the criticism levelled at the international pop star Rihanna for tweeting out against the Indian government, which we now know was the part of a coordinated strategy to put the central government under pressure.
On February 2nd 2021, Rihanna had tweeted a link to a CNN article about the farmer protests in India with the caption, ‘why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest’. It has now been revealed that this tweet was a part of clear and coordinated global effort to put pressure on the Indian Government to roll back laws which have already passed in the democratically-elected Parliament of India.
On February 4th 2021, Sandeep Sharma, who plays in the Indian Premier League for Kings IX Punjab, posted a tweet, criticising the supposed ‘hypocrisy’ of people commenting on the plight and persecution of Hindus in Pakistan, who do not agree with the coordinated global effort to demonize and put pressure on the Indian Government. The screenshot of Sandeep Sharma’s tweet and the message has been reproduced below for the sake of convenience.
However, the message Sharma posted was highly problematic, as he sought to equate the events like Holocaust, Slavery, Apartheid, persecution of minorities in Pakistan and China etc with the farm laws, which have been enacted for the benefit of farmers. While the worst events in human history mentioned by the cricketer caused the death of millions, the three farm laws merely bring much-needed reforms to the farm sector in India, which were being demanded by the farmers themselves for years. Several social media users pointed out this to the cricketer that the farm laws and the protests against them can’t be compared with the events mentioned by him. Sandeep Sharma later went on to delete his tweet after facing a backlash on social media.
Sandeep Sharma was not the only cricketer with thoughts to share regarding the farmer’s protest. Many other cricketers, much more renowned than Sandeep Sharma, took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the ongoing protests. Sachin Tendulkar, widely considered to be the best cricketer India has produced, took to Twitter to strongly denounce and condemn the coordinated effort to threaten and compromise India’s sovereignty. Current Indian skipper Virat Kohli also tweeted and called for unity and peace as the way forward to resolve differences. Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also tweeted in support for unity as the way to resolve the issues with Farmers going forward.
The call for unity and to amicably resolve the difference between the Farmers and the Government was echoed by many other cricketers, former or current. Indian Head Coach Ravi Shastri, Former Test Skipper Anil Kumble, Former Indian Batsman Suresh Raina, Former Indian Spinner Pragyan Ojha, all took to Twitter to share a message of unity and conciliation on Twitter. Sandeep Sharma however, chose to chide the critics of the coordinated global effort through his message, instead of a call for unity, or respecting India’s sovereignty like his other Cricketing collogues chose to do. Sandeep Sharma later ended up deleting his tweet message because of the severe backlash he faced online.