Days after the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress-led Maharashtra government faced severe backlash for its decision to probe Tweets posted by Indian celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, singer Lata Mangeshkar, cricketer Virat Kohli and others in the wake of the global conspiracy to defame India, the Maharashtra government has now taken a U-turn.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who had last week, ordered the Intelligence agency to probe the celebrities’ Tweets has now come out to clarify that the Maha govt is probing the BJP IT cell and not the Tweets by the celebrities. He said that 12 influencers are under State Govt’s scanner.
#Breaking | Celebrity tweets controversy: Maharashtra HM clarifies saying, ‘We are probing BJP IT cell, not Lata Mangeshkar & Sachin Tendulkar. Not probing celebrity tweets. 12 influencers are under State Govt’s scanner’. pic.twitter.com/COfbRAgS1I— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) February 15, 2021
Last week, Anil Deshmukh had said that tweets of celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Suniel Shetty, Virat Kohli, Akshay Kumar, and others will be investigated by the Maharashtra Intelligence agency to ascertain if they were made under some pressure by the Modi government or the celebrities genuinely wanted to support the centre on the Farm Laws.
Deshmukh claimed that there were stark similarities in the tweets posted by the celebrities which hinted that it was a planned and coordinated move. For this reason, Anil Deshmukh had in very clear terms specified that the tweets posted by eminent personalities belonging to various walks of life will be investigated by the state intelligence agency.
Deshmukh made the remarks on an online platform after the Congress, a ruling coalition partner in Maharashtra, sought an investigation into the BJP’s alleged connection with tweets of some celebrities and whether the saffron party “arm-twisted” them.
The decision by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, had, however, faced severe backlash. Apart from BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis and Ashish Shelar, several fans of Bharat Ratna recipients Sachin Tendulkar and the singing legend Lata Mangeshkar had come out to slam the Maha Government.
For the uninitiated, on February 3, many Indian celebrities came out to take a stand against the global smear campaign launched against India. Prominent personalities such as Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Suniel Shetty, Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Kailash Kher and several others had extended their support to the Farm Laws and called for unity in the light of comments made by several international figures, including singer Rihanna and activist Greta Thunberg, over the ongoing farmers’ protests.
The pushback from the celebrities came after the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement, wherein it said that “vested interest groups” were trying to enforce their agenda on the protests to derail them and said that these groups were trying to mobilise global support against India. The statement also referred to “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments” by “celebrities and others” but didn’t name anyone in particular.