NEW DELHI, India— In a tweet on February 5, the United Nations’ Human Rights Office called upon the Indian authorities to protect farmers’ rights to assemble peacefully and express their protest both offline as well as in online mode. Interestingly, this tweet has come amid India’s mounting pressure on Twitter to follow its instructions without any objection.
#India: We call on the authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint in ongoing #FarmersProtests. The rights to peaceful assembly & expression should be protected both offline & online. It's crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to #HumanRights for all.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 5, 2021
The mentioning of the word “online” makes it clear that the UN was aware of the Indian government’s policy of suppressing dissenting voices in a dictatorial manner.
In this tweet, the United Nations Human Rights Office has also asked the Indian government and protesting farmers to exercise maximum restraint and move ahead to find equitable solutions.
It is pertinent to note here that the Indian government has been continuously forcing Twitter to close or withheld several accounts of dissenting voices.
Last week, Twitter was forced to close around 100 accounts, including Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’s official IT cell Kisan Ekta Morcha, Tractor2Twitter, and BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), after being pressurized by the Indian IT Ministry. Later, a dialogue between Twitter and the Indian government led to these accounts being re-instated.
It is pertinent to note here that some recent tweets in favor of farmers’ protests by influential international personalities like Rihanna and Meena Harris have brought India’s ruling section on toes. The unaffected reach of Twitter accounts, unlike Facebook, seems to be irking the ruling BJP in India.
Unlike earlier, India’s pro-Hindutva section is facing a grand failure in controlling the rising support to protesting farmers despite using its entire media, human, propaganda, and intellectual resources.