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As the largest protests in history continue in India over farmers’ demands for agricultural-industry regulation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that Twitter obscure hundreds of accounts that documented vicious police violence against protesters. Censorship of farmers, many of whom live below the poverty line, reveals the government’s insidious control over dismantling collective movements that organise for their basic human rights, and social media’s role in exacerbating it.

But why does Modi’s government go to such lengths? First of all, the government is targeting non-Hindu protesters as “anti-India” to justify the need to repress them. By scapegoating Sikh protesters as infiltrating this movement and censoring the brutal repression on the ground, the government can deny responsibility for the lives of people made poor. This ultimately invisibilises how the elite continue to legally hoard wealth. 


[Image description: A farmer holds up his fist and holds a flag at a protest in Amritsar, India. Photo by Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty Images]

On the other hand, the government also uses Twitter as a weapon to spread Islamophobic rhetoric, culminating in the cancellation of some Muslim Indians’ citizenship. Rooted in the harmful beliefs that Muslim people are barbaric and “unholy”, these tropes are seen as truth not only through institutional denial of rights, but also in the Hindu nationalist violence that leads to Muslims being murdered.

Once again, social media companies who could use their massive influence to uplift the human rights demands of marginalised people with fewer resources, are instead complicit in concealing them. 

How might this show up in our own workplaces? Apart from leaning towards certain “trending items” determining where we invest our time and energy, we are not always critical about why certain pieces of news are grasped onto over others. While social media can and does create a space for meaningful discourse, especially during a time when people cannot see each other, we must still question who determines what material is considered appropriate or urgent on these platforms, in order to bring to light the movements for justice they may be minimising. 

Blacklisting Irish Traveler Families

Pontins, a Holiday Parks Company in the UK, was found to use a blacklist of mainly Irish surnames in order to deny admission to Gypsy and Traveller families. By embedding this discrimination into their policy, they made clear that people of this minoritised ethnicity are viewed as lower class and unfit to participate in family-oriented spaces. This is a classic example of how a not-so-subtle policy can be rooted in racism with little consequence. Meanwhile, at the national policy level, the Police, Crimes, and Sentencing Bill allows the government to evict people from their own land, inherently criminalising the daily existence of Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people. To stand against harsh new laws for roadside camps, you can email your MP via this form.
Virtual Workshop - Thinking Outside the Boxes:
a Holistic Approach

Thursday, 22nd April from 12:00-2:15PM EST/ 5:00-7:15PM GMT
As unfashionable as it is to say it, creating an inclusive culture in your organisation relies on understanding the complexity of the underlying issues that prevent robust change. Leaders who care about inclusion therefore need new, sharper tools to make this a reality. This workshop will be an introduction to how leaders who care about making inclusion happen can sharpen their thinking outside of and across inclusion silos as you design and lead on making inclusion a reality. If you are interested, sign up below.
22nd April Booking & Info
Design for Inclusion UK (Virtual)
26th-30th April from 9:00AM-1:00PM GMT
The five-day DFI is broken down into three sequential stages for senior leaders and stake holders committed to inclusion in their respective organisations:
  • Deepening cognisance and understanding of complex inequities and exclusions at the interpersonal level (between people in teams, relationships).
  • Analysing complex inequities at a system level and the implications of these on individuals and organisational culture and outputs.
  • Building up new capacity: flexible frameworks and tools for applying this analysis into impactful action across: policies, processes, products and people.
April DFI Booking & Info
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Best,
Asher
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