India warns Twitter to comply with orders to block accounts posting about farmers' protest

Published February 3, 2021
Security officers push back people shouting slogans during a protest held to show support to farmers who have been on a months-long protest, in New Delhi, India on February 3, 2021.— AP
Security officers push back people shouting slogans during a protest held to show support to farmers who have been on a months-long protest, in New Delhi, India on February 3, 2021.— AP

India has written to Twitter warning the platform to comply with orders to block accounts and content related to a protest by farmers, a technology ministry source said on Wednesday.

Twitter blocked dozens of accounts in India, including that of a leading news magazine, on Monday after the government said that users were posting content aimed at inciting violence.

But it later unblocked some of these accounts.

“Twitter unilaterally unblocked accounts, tweets despite the government's order. Twitter is an intermediary and they are obliged to obey the direction of the government,” the source, who declined to be named as the notice sent to Twitter was not public, told Reuters.

India's Home Affairs Ministry had demanded the suspension of “close to 250 Twitter accounts” that were allegedly posting content that sought to foment violence, a government official previously told Reuters.

“Content with #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide was posted on Twitter, which was designed to inflame passions, hatred and was factually incorrect,” the technology ministry source said.

Twitter declined to comment on the notice.

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi for months demanding the withdrawal of new laws that they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government denies this, saying the reforms open up new opportunities for farmers.

India's IT ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The protests garnered international attention after US singer Rihanna, climate change activist Greta Thunberg and US lawyer and activist Meena Harris, the niece of Vice-President Kamala Harris, made comments on social media drawing attention to the plight of the protesting farmers.

In reaction, India slammed international celebrities for making comments in support of protesting farmers as inaccurate and irresponsible and said vested interest groups were trying to build opinion against the country.

Opinion

Editorial

Warming ties
05 Jul, 2022

Warming ties

BILATERAL ties with the US are clearly on the mend after an extensive rough patch under the PTI government. While ...
LNG emergency
Updated 05 Jul, 2022

LNG emergency

The problem is that Pakistan does not have sufficient cash at the moment to buy even a single LNG cargo at present prices.
The invisible half
05 Jul, 2022

The invisible half

WHAT better illustrates the Afghan Taliban’s misogynistic and mediaeval worldview than the fact that not a single...
Wise counsel
Updated 04 Jul, 2022

Wise counsel

Fuelling the fires of communalism for petty political gains is dangerous and can have a long-lasting impact on India’s stability.
Hazardous waste
04 Jul, 2022

Hazardous waste

GIVEN we have not yet developed streamlined systems for managing locally produced hazardous waste, we are inviting...
Mob ‘justice’
04 Jul, 2022

Mob ‘justice’

OVER the past few days, a string of deadly incidents has been reported from Karachi in which enraged mobs have...