Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the centre on Tuesday afternoon, a day after it ordered Twitter to suspend 250 accounts making "fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets" about the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws.
"Modi style of governance - Shut them up, cut them off, crush them down," Mr Gandhi tweeted, attaching a screenshot of a news report - titled "Twitter helps govt block accounts tweeting on farmer protests... " - on the accounts being suspended.
On Monday the IT Ministry directed Twitter to block accounts tweeting, or retweeting, with the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag, and making "fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets".
Government sources said the request had come from the Home Ministry and was made to prevent "escalation of law and order (situation)".
Modi style of governance-— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 2, 2021
Shut them up
Cut them off
Crush them down. pic.twitter.com/Rdi0A8ftgp
The accounts blocked included those belonging to farmer groups like Kisan Ekta Morcha, the Caravan magazine, CPM leader Mohammad Salim and several journalists and AAP MLAs.
Delhi Police had earlier filed a FIR against several journalists, including Mrinal Pande and Rajdeep Sardesai, and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, alleging the spread of misinformation about the death of a protester during the Republic Day tractor rally violence.
The accounts were released a few hours later, but not before a furious reaction from the opposition, activists and members of the public.
The police also arrested and filed a case against Mandeep Punia, a freelance journalist (who writes for the Caravan) looking to cover the farmers' protest. Mr Punia was given bail this afternoon.
Mr Gandhi's angry swipe today came just hours after an even terser tweet.
Mr Gandhi shared four photos of Delhi Police turning farmer protest sites into fortresses, complete with barbed wire and concrete walls, and called on the centre to "build bridges, not walls".
GOI,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 2, 2021
Build bridges, not walls! pic.twitter.com/C7gXKsUJAi
Late Monday night, as the country discussed the union budget, police began building row upon row of barricades and barriers to stop irate farmers from progressing further than they have.
Paramilitary troops - from the Rapid Action Forces and the Central Armed Police Forces - have been deployed along the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
Visuals showed barbed wire wrapped around multiple lines of yellow police gates and a fleet of public busses parked crisscross to act as mobile barriers. This morning visuals showed roads being dug up and nails being scattered across open roads to deter farmers from rushing the barriers.
In addition, internet services have been suspended and supply of basic facilities - water and electricity - have been disrupted.
The farmers, who have called for a three-hour chakka jam on Saturday, have declared they will not be beaten back. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha told the centre "there can be no formal talks... until police and administration harassment (of) farmers' movement is immediately stopped".
"It appears that the government is extremely fearful of the rising tide of support for the ongoing protest from different states of India," the group said.
Tension between the farmers and the centre has spiked since violence on Republic Day last week, over which Delhi Police yesterday released details of more than 120 arrests.
The stand-off between the two groups continues after 11 rounds of talks and is now pending involvement of a Supreme Court-mandated committee that is to act as an intermediary.