New Delhi, February 01:

Twitter on Monday blocked some 250 accounts tweeting with the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag, and making “fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets on Saturday”, government sources said, adding the request had come from the Home Ministry and multiple law enforcement agencies.

The request, the source said, was made with a view to preventing “escalation of law and order (situation) in view of the ongoing farmer agitation.

Several accounts have been blocked, including that belonging to the Caravan magazine – against whom Delhi Police yesterday filed a FIR alleging that it was spreading false and misleading information about the death of a protester during the Republic Day tractor rally violence in Delhi.

CPM leader Mohammad Salim’s account, and those that appear to belong to the Kisan Ekta Morcha. the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Ekta Urgahan and AAP MLAs have also been blocked.

“… @salimdotcomrade’s account has been suspended by @Twitter. Multiple popular Twitter accounts, which were championing the cause of the farmers have been withheld by Twitter citing some “legal” request.  We condemn this & demand the suspensions to be removed immediately,” the CPM tweeted.

The timeline of each blocked account is blanked and “Account withheld” is written across it. Below that it says: “Your account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand”.

The timeline of each blocked account is blanked and “Account withheld” is written across it

According to Twitter, content (and accounts) might be withheld “…if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity”.

“Such withholdings will be limited to the specific jurisdiction that has issued the valid legal demand or where the content has been found to violate local law(s),” Twitter said in its ‘Help’ section.

The crackdown comes amid growing outrage on social media platforms over the clashes between Delhi Police and farmers on Republic Day. In particular, the death of a farmer at the ITO junction in central Delhi was highlighted by several journalists and activists.

Multiple police cases have been filed against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, as well as several others, for posts and comments on this matter.

“…They posted fake, misleading and wrong information regarding unfortunate death of the tractor driver in accident to instigate violence amongst protestors,” Delhi Police said Saturday

Earlier today the centre also extended till Tuesday a ban on internet services at key farmer protest sites along the Delhi border – Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri. The ban was announced yesterday by the Home Ministry, which said it was “… necessary and expedient”.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, has denounced the move.

“The government does not want facts to reach the protesting farmers…It is fearful of the coordinated work of the farmers’ unions across different protest sites.. this is undemocratic and illegal,” it said.

Last week Twitter was questioned by the centre after it had temporarily blocked Home Minister Amit Shah’s account in November.

Sources said Twitter executives were asked why the account had been blocked and who gave them the right to do so. Twitter officials explained they had to block the account temporarily as there was a copyright issue regarding a picture Mr Shah had posted.