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Modi govt seeking to stifle voices of democracy: Mann

The AAP’s Punjab president Bhagwant Mann attacks the Centre for coming up with new social media regulations, charges that the ‘immense support’ farmers’ protests have got online has shaken it.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Aday after the BJP-led Centre announced the tightening of rules governing social media and streaming companies requiring them to take down contentious content quicker, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Punjab president Bhagwant Mann on Friday charged that this was another way through which the Narendra Modi government wanted to stifle the voices of democracy.

The Member of Parliament said in recent days the Modi government had been “shaken to the core” with the immense response that the farmers’ protests against the Centre’s three controversial farm laws had been getting.

He said that the farmers, labourers and the people of the country had been opposing the Modi government and expressing their displeasure through social media.

The farmers’ movement was also getting a lot of support from the people of India and abroad on social media. “Farmers have been able to use social media to spread their message while the government tried its best to suppress their voices. Fearing protests and resentment of the people, the Modi government is now trying to regulate social media so that they can suppress the voices of the people,” he alleged.

Slamming the PM, Mann said Modi was slowly turning the country into a State where all sources of information were monitored and regulated. “Modi is ruling the country in a dictatorial manner and he along with Union home minister Amit Shah wants to enslave the people of the country.

To suppress the tone of the protest, they are adopting various governmental tactics and filing false cases against the protesters and putting them in jail,” Mann charged.

The AAP leader also said that the people who had disagreements with the Modi government were being “tortured”. He said that the government was misleading the people through new norms. He said the justification given by the Union information technology and communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, to justify the ‘Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code’, was that such steps were being taken to curb fake news that incites violence and also to stop terrorists and anti-nationals from using social media.

“However, what is ironic is that the Bharatiya Janata Party themselves are the biggest factory of lies that pushes fake news on social media to incite violence. Will these new regulations be used to target their own trolls or will this be used to suppress the voices of the people who speak against you and who you term as antinationals?,” Mann asked.