India cracks down on Twitter accounts talking about ‘farmer genocide

India cracks down on Twitter accounts talking about ‘farmer genocide

The Indian government on Monday issued orders to withhold nearly 250 URLs, including Twitter accounts and posts, that were running the hashtag #Modiplanningfarmergenocide, people familiar with the matter told Hindustan Times.

The withheld accounts include farmers collective Kisan Ekta Morcha, news outfit Caravan India, actor Sushant, Prasad Bharti CEO Shashi Shekhar, activist Hansraj Meena and former Lok Sabha MP and CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim.

Officials familiar with the matter said that the blocking of Shashi Shekhar was likely a mistake, as he was the one who drew the government’s attention to the issue.

“His account will soon be unblocked,” said an official familiar with the matter. “He was the one who drew the government’s attention to the hashtag that was being used.”

The accounts, said a person familiar with the matter, have been indefinitely withheld.

People familiar with the matter said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued the order under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act after it received directions from the Home ministry. “The Home ministry said that the tweets could lead to an adverse law and order situation,” said a person familiar with the matter. “The accounts have been withheld to prevent an escalation of violence.”

However, a second person said that Twitter was moving to contest the blocks and would let the accounts return to the platform.

“These accounts are accessible outside India,” the second person said. “Legal teams are working to contest the order. The accounts are likely to be restored as soon as the meeting of Twitter officials concludes.”

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