Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Politics Farm and Forest

After activists, is GoI now targeting farmers?

Farmers Twitter accounts withheld, reportedly at GoI's behest, at a time when media is largely focused on arrests of activists and journalists

Sabrangindia 28 Jun 2022

kisan ekta morcha

Amidst a flurry of arrests of human rights defenders and journalists, farmers umbrella body Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) reported that dozens of Twitter accounts allied with the farmers struggle were withheld on June 27, 2022. As per a notice from the social media platform, this was done under India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.

letter

“Twitter has withheld about a dozen Twitter accounts in India, including the Twitter handle Kisan Ekta Morcha allied with the farmers movement, without any warning. Among them are important accounts like Tractor to Twitter,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.

When the farmers’ movement began in 2020, farmer youths created a huge presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to tackle any misinformation or false news against the struggle. The accounts also succeeded in spreading farmer grievances to the world to celebrities like Rihanna and world youth leaders like Greta Thunberg. The accounts garnered millions of followers over the months and reported various activities of the movement.

twitter

Twitter

“Through these channels, the voice of farmers came out of the village to big cities and around the world, and in real sense the voice of farmers reached from Tractor to Twitter. The banning of such a strong voice of farmers-labourers on digital platforms by the government is not only dangerous for democracy, but is also a living example of Emergency,” said the SKM in a press release.

Moreover, it called the ban a part of a larger campaign against human rights defenders by the ruling regime. Leaders pointed out how human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who fought for justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims and survivors, and former Gujarat State DGP RB Sreekumar, were arrested on June 26. At the same time, another case was registered against former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt naming him as a co-conspirator in a case pertaining to forgery and malicious prosecution. Later, AltNews Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi police for a 2018 tweet. The withholding of farmers accounts was thus part of a series of administrative moves over the weekend.

“We strongly oppose and condemn this dictatorial behaviour by the Centre. This is exactly the situation of “the pot calling the kettle black”, where those who demand justice are being arrested,” said the SKM.

Incidentally, the 1975 Emergency was also declared in the intervening night of June 25 and June 26 of that year. Farmers recollected the anti-people conditions of the Emergency period when the Centre adopted an authoritarian rule, and dissenting voices were crushed. Drawing parallels with the current status quo, leaders said the BJP has pressured Twitter to shut down the voices questioning the government.

“Both Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2twitr have been withheld per the “local law”. And for what? Questioning the government in a democracy?” asked an enraged personnel of the SKM’s IT cell.

The SKM demanded the restoration of the accounts as well as the release of Setalvad and Sreekumar. The former was remanded to police custody till July 1. Meanwhile, Zubair was taken into custody on orders of a Burari magistrate.

Related:

Human Rights organisations issue statements of support for Teesta Setalvad

Cancel Agnipath scheme: SKM appeals to President

Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

UP may waive loans of over 33,000 farmers, but is that the way to go?

After activists, is GoI now targeting farmers?

Farmers Twitter accounts withheld, reportedly at GoI's behest, at a time when media is largely focused on arrests of activists and journalists

kisan ekta morcha

Amidst a flurry of arrests of human rights defenders and journalists, farmers umbrella body Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) reported that dozens of Twitter accounts allied with the farmers struggle were withheld on June 27, 2022. As per a notice from the social media platform, this was done under India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.

letter

“Twitter has withheld about a dozen Twitter accounts in India, including the Twitter handle Kisan Ekta Morcha allied with the farmers movement, without any warning. Among them are important accounts like Tractor to Twitter,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.

When the farmers’ movement began in 2020, farmer youths created a huge presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to tackle any misinformation or false news against the struggle. The accounts also succeeded in spreading farmer grievances to the world to celebrities like Rihanna and world youth leaders like Greta Thunberg. The accounts garnered millions of followers over the months and reported various activities of the movement.

twitter

Twitter

“Through these channels, the voice of farmers came out of the village to big cities and around the world, and in real sense the voice of farmers reached from Tractor to Twitter. The banning of such a strong voice of farmers-labourers on digital platforms by the government is not only dangerous for democracy, but is also a living example of Emergency,” said the SKM in a press release.

Moreover, it called the ban a part of a larger campaign against human rights defenders by the ruling regime. Leaders pointed out how human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who fought for justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims and survivors, and former Gujarat State DGP RB Sreekumar, were arrested on June 26. At the same time, another case was registered against former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt naming him as a co-conspirator in a case pertaining to forgery and malicious prosecution. Later, AltNews Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi police for a 2018 tweet. The withholding of farmers accounts was thus part of a series of administrative moves over the weekend.

“We strongly oppose and condemn this dictatorial behaviour by the Centre. This is exactly the situation of “the pot calling the kettle black”, where those who demand justice are being arrested,” said the SKM.

Incidentally, the 1975 Emergency was also declared in the intervening night of June 25 and June 26 of that year. Farmers recollected the anti-people conditions of the Emergency period when the Centre adopted an authoritarian rule, and dissenting voices were crushed. Drawing parallels with the current status quo, leaders said the BJP has pressured Twitter to shut down the voices questioning the government.

“Both Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2twitr have been withheld per the “local law”. And for what? Questioning the government in a democracy?” asked an enraged personnel of the SKM’s IT cell.

The SKM demanded the restoration of the accounts as well as the release of Setalvad and Sreekumar. The former was remanded to police custody till July 1. Meanwhile, Zubair was taken into custody on orders of a Burari magistrate.

Related:

Human Rights organisations issue statements of support for Teesta Setalvad

Cancel Agnipath scheme: SKM appeals to President

Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

UP may waive loans of over 33,000 farmers, but is that the way to go?

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

India

Teesta Setalvad | A powerful voice for India’s human rights movement

For the last thirty years, Teesta Setalvad has been one of India’s most important voices for human rights, freedom and justice for all.

As she comes under attack from a vindictive state as well as fake news peddling troll armies, let us look at some of her recent interventions and accolades.

 

India

Teesta Setalvad | A powerful voice for India’s human rights movement

For the last thirty years, Teesta Setalvad has been one of India’s most important voices for human rights, freedom and justice for all.

As she comes under attack from a vindictive state as well as fake news peddling troll armies, let us look at some of her recent interventions and accolades.

 

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives