Indian farmworkers are continuing to take to the streets to demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal three highly contested agricultural laws. Farmworkers say the laws, which seek to deregulate markets and allow large corporations to set prices, threaten their livelihoods. Dozens have died since the start of the protests, with many deaths caused by the harsh winter as tens of thousands of farmers have camped out in the cold on the outskirts of New Delhi and other parts of the country. The Modi government has come under harsh criticism for its response to the uprising as it raided the offices of the progressive news site NewsClick and demanded that Twitter remove hundreds of accounts as part of a crackdown on information about the protests. “The main idea of doing this is to send a warning and a message to the rest of us, the independent media, to say that you guys are not immune,” says P. Sainath, award-winning Indian journalist and founder of the People’s Archive of Rural India. “Independent media is having it as hard as it gets just now.”
it’s been on, interrogations, detaining people — I think it’s been on for more than 50 hours. The raids conducted on NewsClick, which, as you described, is a progressive media organization, an independent media organization, noncorporate, they — I mean, this is now being done by the Enforcement Directorate, which is not police, strictly, but bringing in economic offenses, charges which they haven’t made public but plant in the journals of the ruling fraternity, and no one has explicitly said what the charge is. But laptops, servers — I mean, laptops, hard disks, phones have been confiscated. And at least five people are without their phones or their laptops, which have been taken over.
But the main idea of doing this is to send a warning and a message to the rest of us, the independent media, and to say that “You guys are not immune, and that we are going to crack in this way, because, yeah, it might amount to nothing in the courts, it may be thrown out, but it’s going to malign your reputation in public.” So, I call you a money launderer or something like that; none of that is going to stand up in court, but remember that they are backed the greatest proll army in the world — payroll trolls — of the ruling government. So, like, last night, there was a video, which, after a great delay, YouTube and Twitter took down, which named 10 independent media groups, including the People’s Archive, as having been extremely dangerous people who should be jailed immediately, failing which the maker of the video feared for his life. OK? So you’ve got the pressure from the government, and you’ve got the silence and connivance of the corporate media. Independent media is having it as hard as it gets just now.
— source democracynow.org | Feb 11, 2021