Social media giant Facebook on Sunday briefly removed the account of Kisan Ekta Morcha where farmers’ groups had been posting updates of their ongoing agitation against the Centre’s new agri-marketing laws.
A screenshot tweeted by the group showed the page was removed by Facebook citing “community standards on spam”. The page had more than 7 lakh followers. According to the protesting unions, the account was removed shortly after Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav announced in a live video that farmers will hold a relay hunger strike on Monday. The Facebook page was later restored, reports said.
Action against Facebook Page is misuse of Govt. of India powers to suppress the dissent voices.Dirty tactics when they can't beat ideologically.#DigitalKisan #KisanEktaMorcha pic.twitter.com/qsC6o5nW8O— Kisan Ekta Morcha (@KisanEktaMarch) December 20, 2020
Farmer groups have also called on the public to bang ‘thalis’ and utensils during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat radio address on Sunday, a jibe referencing a similar request made by the PM during the initial days of the coronavirus outbreak in India in March.
Tens of thousands of farmers have blocked roads leading into New Delhi for the past three weeks demanding a repeal of laws that give them the option to sell directly to private companies. The government says the change is necessary to boost farm returns and improve storage and other infrastructure. But the farmers, mainly from the northern agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana, fear private companies would eventually dictate terms and the government would stop buying grains like wheat and rice from them at a minimum guaranteed price.
After a series of previous meetings with ministers, the protesters have said that nothing short of an official annulment of the three laws will be enough to change their position.