Twitter accounts linked to farmers’ movement withheld; SKM terms it ‘witch hunt’ by Centre
In a statement, SKM, which led a heroic protest against the three farm laws which were repealed eventually by the Centre, alleged that the “accounts were withheld without any warning”
Even as politicians, members of civil society, journalists, writers and social activists gathered at Jantar Mantar to stage a protest against the arrest of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer RB Srikumar by the Gujarat Police, it has come to the fore that microblogging site Twitter has withheld various accounts linked to the farmers’ movement.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmers’ organizations on Monday alleged that the accounts linked to the farmers’ movement were withheld as part of a ‘witch-hunt’ carried out by the Union government.
In a statement, SKM, which led a heroic protest against the three farm laws which were repealed eventually by the Centre, alleged that the “accounts were withheld without any warning”.
“Among them are important accounts like ‘Tractor to Twitter’. The important thing in this context is that the Union government chose the anniversary of the Emergency to take this anti-farmers step,” said the SKM.
“The BJP has put pressure on Twitter to shut down the voice of these Twitter accounts questioning the government, due to which these accounts have been withheld by Twitter,” it alleged.
Highlighting that during the farmers’ movement, various kinds of misinformation and false news were being spread against the movement, the SKM added, “The youth who were active in the farmers’ movement tried to bring the voice of the farmers to the world through innovative measures like Twitter accounts named ‘Kisan Ekta Morcha’, ‘Tractor to Twitter’, etc. These accounts had millions of followers. During the farmers’ movement that lasted more than a year, these accounts bravely and diligently reported on the movement’s activities and raised the issue of the oppression of the movement and the protesters by the government.”
Apart from demanding the restoration of the accounts withheld by Twitter, SKM condemned the arrest of the Teesta Setalvad by the Gujarat Police.
Saying that the “ban imposed by the Union government on the Twitter accounts allied with the farmers movement is part of a larger campaign of attack against human rights by the government,” the SKM emphasized, “We strongly oppose and condemn this dictatorial behavior by the Union government. This is exactly the situation of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’, where those who demand justice are being arrested.”
SKM also demanded that Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhatt be released unconditionally, and justice should be ensured to the victims of Gujarat riots.