Amid violence in Manipur, Twitter handle of major tribal leaders' forum blocked | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘To stifle marginalised voices’: Amid violence in Manipur, Twitter handle of major tribal leaders' forum blocked

Jun 18, 2023 09:07 AM IST

ITLF called the blocking of its Twitter account a shocking act of censorship and violation of Article 19 of Indian Constitution.

The Twitter account of the prominent tribal leaders' group that has been spearheading the agitation in Manipur against the N Biren Singh-led BJP government, Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), has been ‘withheld’. Calling it as a shocking act of censorship, the statement released by ITLF said its handle has been blocked in response to a legal demand.

Heavy police force deployed after violence occurred in several areas of Manipur, on Sunday.(ANI)
Heavy police force deployed after violence occurred in several areas of Manipur, on Sunday.(ANI)

Also read: As violence spirals in Manipur, Congress jabs BJP: ‘Obvious that Modi is not…’

“The ITLF Media Cell Twitter account, vital for raising awareness about Kuki-Zo tribal communities in Manipur, has been blocked in India. Despite tirelessly working towards addressing their challenges, this censorship is yet another attempt to stifle marginalized voices," the statement said, adding that it amounts to a violation of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which talks about the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the United Nation treatyy of 1948 on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Statement released by ITLF.
Statement released by ITLF.

In the wake of a series of fresh violence in the state, the Manipur government has extended the ongoing ban on internet services for another five days. The government had imposed the internet shutdown for the first time on May 3 when the ethnic violence first erupted in the state.

Recently, mobs attempted to torch down houses of BJP leaders in Imphal, according to news agency PTI. Two civilians were reportedly injured after mobs clashed with security forces.

ITLF alleged that the blocking of its Twitter handle will lead to severely limiting and hampering the ability of the tribal communities to report from the ground about daily attacks.

“By obstructing the ITLF media cell's reach and dissemination of vital information, our limited efforts to shed light on the ongoing ethnic cleansing committed against us have been choked,” the statement added.

At least 115 people have been killed and another 40,000 displaced since violence between the tribal Kukis, who mostly reside in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, the dominant community in Imphal Valley

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