In wake of notice from the Indian Government, Twitter has once again blocked some of the accounts that were linked to the farmer’s agitation. The Indian Government had warned Twitter that it would face penal action if it doesn’t abide by the government’s law and it seems like Twitter was quick to react.
At least three accounts including those of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’s official IT cell Kisan Ekta Morcha, Tractor2Twitter and BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) have been suspended. Out of the three, Tractor2Twitter and BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) have activated some other accounts that have similar names but with limited activity.
Twitter had blocked the above-mentioned accounts on 1st February after receiving a request from the government as the handles were associated with the farmer’s agitation that took place in the capital on 26th of January. In a unilateral decision, Twitter, surprisingly, unblocked the handles after imposing a ban in just a few hours which invited the irk of Government.The government also reminded Twitter in its notice that is an intermediary and is obliged to obey as directed, and the refusal to do so would invite penal action.
Apart from this, on 30th January, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had directed Twitter to block around 250 Tweets/Twitter accounts which were using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and making fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets. Twitter was late in doing so as it blocked these tweets/accounts on 1st Feb whereas it was to do so on the 31st of January. In the meantime, the concerned tweets containing the hashtag were tweeted and retweeted multiple times, therefore spreading the hashtag further.
One of these accounts also included the one of Indian Activist ‘Hansraj Meena’. “I was merely supporting the farmers, tweeting about their problems and demands with the hashtag #WeStandWithFarmers,” said Meena in an interview with Reuters.Other accounts that were blocked included those of a newsmagazine, farmers’ groups, politicians and an actor. To be precise, these accounts were of Kisan Ekta Morcha, The Caravan India, Manik Goyal, and many more people.
The government also reminded that Twitter is an intermediary and is obliged to obey as directed, and the refusal to do so would invite penal action.