India tells Twitter to comply with order to block accounts - sources

FILE PHOTO: A Twitter logo is seen outside the company headquarters, during a purported demonstration by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump to protest the social media company's permanent suspension of the president's Twitter account, in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has told Twitter to comply with an order to block content alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration was trying to wipe out farmers protesting against agricultural reforms, two technology ministry sources said.

Twitter blocked dozens of accounts in India on Monday after the country's Home Affairs Ministry complained that users were posting content aimed at inciting violence, a government had previously told Reuters.

But it later unblocked some of these accounts, prompting New Delhi to write to the U.S. social media giant demanding that it obey the government order, the technology ministry sources, who declined to be named as the notice to Twitter was not public, told Reuters.

Reuters has not seen the notice sent to Twitter.

"Content with #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide was posted on Twitter, which was designed to inflame passions, hatred and was factually incorrect," one of the sources said on Wednesday.

"Twitter unilaterally unblocked accounts, tweets despite the government's order," the ministry source added.

Twitter declined to comment on the notice, while the technology ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

As of Wednesday, several Twitter users could be seen using the hashtag that led the government to call for the ban.

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of India's capital New Delhi for months demanding the withdrawal of new agriculture laws that they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.

Modi's government denies this, saying that the reforms open up new opportunities for farmers.

India this week temporarily blocked internet access on the outskirts of New Delhi in a move the government said was aimed at maintaining public order.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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