Farmers protest: Twitter restores blocked Indian accounts

Twitter blocks Indian accounts on govt orders over farm protests

In another incident of online censorship in India, several Twitter accounts critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, including opposition leaders, farmers unions and a prominent media house were suspended due to a "legal" request.

A Twitter trend, "ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide" was said to be the cause of the blocking of the accounts.

Twitter blocked around 250 accounts in India upon the country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology's (MeitY) request.

Twitter said that during the meeting with the concerned officials, the company conveyed that the content is free speech and newsworthy.

A Twitter statement said, "If we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorised entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time". "Twitter has blocked these Tweets/Twitter Accounts", it added.

Among the individuals whose accounts have been withheld are activists Md Asif Khan and Hansraj Meena, actor Sushant Singh, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati, and CPI (M) leader Mohammed Salim.

The development comes in the wake of violence in Delhi on Republic Day on January 26 during a tractor parade of farmers protesting the new agriculture laws which resulted in the death of one person and injuries to over a hundred people, including police personnel.

Ovechkin gives victory to his family on his return
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Twitter said it complies with official orders, as required.

"Incitement to genocide is a grave threat to public order & therefore the Ministry of Electronics & IT ordered for blocking of these Twitter accounts & Tweets under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act".

The legal demand from the Indian government put Twitter, which has employees based in the country, in a hard position. Even after Twitter said the tweets and accounts were reinstated, the company said the government's legal demand was valid.

Twitter has reportedly blocked accounts of Kisan Ekta Morcha, The Caravan India, Manik Goyal, Tractor2twitr and jatt_junction, all in India, amongst others.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at the borders of Delhi against recent farm laws, demanding a complete repeal.

"Transparency is vital to protecting freedom of expression, so we have a notice policy for withheld content".

A government official said the Home Affairs Ministry had demanded the suspension of "close to 250 Twitter accounts" that were allegedly posting content that sought to foment violence. Twitter stated that, "Public conversation and transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter".

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