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Twitter ‘Withholds’ Multiple Accounts Linked to Farmers’ Agitation on Govt’s Request

Microblogging platform Twitter on Monday withheld multiple accounts, including those those linked with the ongoing farmers’ protest along the borders of Delhi borders against the new central farm laws.

The social media platform reportedly took the step on the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies to maintain order.

Among the accounts withheld are Kisan Ekta Morcha (@Kisanektamorcha) and BKU Ekta Urgahan (@Bkuektaugrahan), both having followers in thousands.

Besides these, several other individual and organisational accounts, including one of a media outlet, were also withheld, even as debates started on social media over the development. The account of Prasar Bharati’s Chief Executive Officer Shashi S Vempati has also been suspended.

News agency ANI quoted a source said the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) had directed Twitter to block around 250 tweets/twitter accounts which were using ‘Modi Planning Farmer Genocide’ hashtag and making fake, intimidating and provocative tweets on January 30.

According to Twitter, when an account is withheld it means the social media platform was compelled to withhold the entire account specified (e.g, @username) in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

“In our effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive a properly scoped request from authorised entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in particular country,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

“Transparency is vital to protecting freedom of expression, so we have a notice policy for withheld content. Upon receipt of requests to withhold content, we’ll promptly notify affected account holders,” the spokesperson further said.

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. The Delhi Police is currently probing the Republic Day violence wherein it has lodged multiple FIRs and booked, among others, several farmer leaders leading the protests at the national capital’s borders since November-end.

(With inputs from agencies)

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