NEW DELHI | A new controversy has erupted in India after the broadcast of an image of pop icon Rihanna, posing topless for a lingerie ad, in little purple shorts with a pendant of Ganesh, India’s most popular deity.
The new storm of the powerful “influencer” on social networks, with 100 million subscribers on Twitter and 91.4 million on Instagram, comes a few weeks after drawing a strong reaction from the authorities for having defended farmers who demonstrate against agricultural reforms in the country.
“It’s scandalous how @Rihanna shamefully mocks our beloved God #Ganesh,” tweeted Ram Kadam, a parliamentarian and member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist party. “It shows how she has no respect for Indian culture and traditions.”
The Hindu World Council (Vishva Hindu Parishad, VHP), a group attached to the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata (BJP), claimed to have filed complaints to obtain from Twitter and Facebook the removal of the image and measures against the accounts of Rihanna.
The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had criticized Rihanna, among other international celebrities, at the beginning of February for interfering in a “sensationalist” way in the file of the agricultural reforms of the country, after tweets of Rihanna and Greta Thunberg on the demonstrations of ‘farmers gone viral.
“Why aren’t we talking about this ?! #FarmersProtest, ”the pop star wrote, sharing a CNN report covering internet shutdowns in Delhi during farmer protests last week.
His message was immediately retweeted over 230,000 times and commented on by nearly 80,000 people. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, one of the world’s leading environmental activists, had also retweeted, as did the niece of Indian-born American Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris.
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