Rihanna's tweet on Tuesday linked to a news story about the internet blockade at the protest sites and soon went viral, gaining more than 700,000 likes. "Why aren't we talking about this?!" wrote the singer, who has 100 million followers on the social network.
Soon, international condemnation from human rights groups and outrage from Indian supporters of Modi's party followed.
Then India's foreign ministry accused foreign individuals and celebrities of sensationalism. The ministry's statement did not, however, name Rihanna.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris, were among others who then tweeted their support, and a social media storm soon followed.