Outraged members of a Hindu nationalist group have burnt photographs of Greta Thunberg in New Delhi after the Swedish environmentalist tweeted in support of India’s protesting farmers.
Amid rising tensions between protesting farmers and the authorities, members of the United Hindu Front also held signs saying India will “not tolerate interference in internal affairs.”
Hundreds of thousands of farmers are occupying the streets outside of New Delhi ahead of a planned nationwide strike on Saturday, their numbers swelling after a farmer died after violent clashes with police on January 26.
Tweets by Ms Thunberg and the singer Rihanna have catapulted the farmers’ protests into headline news worldwide; farmers believe proposed new agricultural laws will decimate their profits by privatising the farming industry.
In addition to tweeting her support of the protests, Ms Thunberg also shared a “toolkit” advising how people could peacefully demonstrate against the laws.
The “toolkit” advocated for Indians joining a farmers’ march into New Delhi, showing their solidarity on social media using specific hashtags and tweeting messages to Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister.
Ms Thunberg, 18, also proposed that those overseas protest outside their nearest Indian Embassy on February 13 and 14. Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had accused Ms Thunberg of being behind a foreign plot to divide the country.
Earlier on Thursday, the Indian media reported Ms Thunberg would face a Delhi Police investigation for “criminal conspiracy” and “promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race” for sharing the “toolkit” but this did not go ahead.
“We haven’t named anybody in the FIR, it’s only against the creators of the toolkit which is a matter of investigation and Delhi Police will be investigating that case,” said Praveer Ranjan, a Special Commissioner of the Delhi Police.
Ms Thunberg reiterated her support for India’s farmers despite the backlash: “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest.”