Farmers protest: GoI tells X to block posts, Congress calls it ‘murder of democracy’

Teargas shells used on farmers for protesting against laws constituted by GoI.

New Delhi: On Thursday, the Congress claimed that democracy is under threat in the country, asserting that it is being “murdered.”

This statement came after microblogging platform X expressed disagreement with the BJP-led GoI’s directive to block accounts and posts related to ongoing farmers’ protests.

X not only voiced its dissent but also called for the extension of freedom of expression to the affected posts.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology reportedly ordered social media platforms to temporarily block 177 accounts linked to the farmers’ protests at the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Jairam Ramesh, the general secretary of the Congress, tagged a statement issued by X’s Global Government Affairs team, declaring it a “Murder Of Democracy in India.”

In response, X issued a statement saying, “The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties, including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X also mentioned that a writ appeal challenging the government’s blocking orders remains pending and called for making the order public to enhance transparency.

Due to legal restrictions, X stated it was unable to publish the executive orders but emphasized that making them public is essential for transparency. The platform expressed concern that the lack of disclosure could lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making.

X informed the impacted users about the government’s actions in accordance with the company’s policies.

Meanwhile, farmers from across the country continue to protest, pressing GoI  for their demands, which include a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and a farm loan waiver.

The protesting farmer leaders temporarily halted their march to Delhi for two days after a protester was killed and about 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at one of the protest sites on the Punjab-Haryana border.

In the midst of these developments, the official account of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee wrote on X about the platform withholding two of their posts. They urged the concerned department of the Government of India to clarify what is considered ‘unlawful’ as per the IT Act, 2000, in the content of their X posts.

This incident echoes actions taken during the previous farmers’ protests in 2021 when X, then known as Twitter, also restricted numerous accounts in response to a ‘legal request.’

Some of the affected accounts, including Kisan Ekta Morcha and Hansraj Meena, were temporarily withheld but later reinstated.

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