X admits to taking down posts and accounts of Indian farmers protest

Business International

related to the ongoing farmers’ protests in India.

The site has claimed it took down the pages after the Indian government sent them “executive orders”.

The orders were “subject to potential penalties, including imprisonment”, X said in a statement, adding that it “disagreed with these actions”.

X’s clarification was shared on their official handle @GlobalAffairs.

Several activists had earlier complained about their posts being removed.

X user and Indian journalist Mohammed Zubair wrote on Monday that “many influential X accounts” of reporters, influencers and prominent farm unionists covering farmers’ protest in India were “suspended”.

In its clarification, X said the accounts and posts were being withheld in India alone “in compliance with the orders”.

It, however, added that the platform did not agree with the government action and maintained that “freedom of express should extend to these posts”.

The platform also said it had legally challenged the government’s “blocking orders”, without specifying which court they had petitioned.

India’s main opposition Congress party has criticised the government for the clampdown, accusing it of trying to silence dissenting voices in a democratic country. Several X handles too have criticised the government for shutting down critical social media posts.

The government has yet not responded to the X statement or the BBC’s request for a response.

Several farm unions in India have been on strike since 13 February seeking floor pricing, which is also called minimum support price, for their crops. The protesters have been attempting to march to India’s capital, Delhi, from the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

But the authorities have heavily barricaded the city borders with barbed wire and cement blocks to stop them. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states, which are ruled by the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have deployed a large number of police and paramilitary troops to stop the farmers from reaching Delhi.

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