- Centre had already asked Twitter to block 257 accounts over the Farmers’ tractor violence
- Govt has alleged that the accounts asked to be blocked are of Khalistan sympathizers
- Twitter’s India Public Policy director, Mahima Kaul has resigned
TAD NewsDesk, New Delhi: After having directed Twitter to block 257 pro-farmers’ protest accounts, the Centre has issued a notice to the social media platform to block 1,178 accounts more on February 8. The said accounts are alleged to be linked to Khalistan sympathisers, according to the IT Ministry and MHA.
Earlier, the Centre had directed Twitter to block 257 accounts using the hashtag ‘ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide”, citing law and order reasons.
“The accounts ordered blocked are of Khalistan sympathisers, or those backed by Pakistan and operating from foreign territories… Many of the accounts are also automated bots that were used for sharing and amplifying misinformation and provocative contents on farmers protests,” said a source.
Contending that these accounts could be inciting genocide, the government has warned Twitter that it may have to face legal action if it refuses to follow the MHA’s direction. The IT Ministry, headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad was upset with Twitter for unblocking the accounts subsequently “testing the government’s patience” and “forcing it to take action” under the provisions of the IT Act.
Further, the government said that Twitter can move the court if it feels the government’s direction is arbitrary in nature. However, the microblogging platform could be held liable for promoting/advertising/publicising such incendiary content if it refuses to block the ordered accounts.
Amidst the spat between Twitter and MeitY, Twitter’s public policy director Mahima Kaul has reportedly resigned from her post. Although, Kaul refused to comment, Twitter confirmed the fact and informed that she is only helping with the transition till March.
In a similar case of crushing dissent, ‘Ailaan’, a track by Punjabi singer Kanwar Grewal and Himmat Sandhu’s ‘Asi Vaddange’ have been removed from YouTube. Reportedly, after the government filed legal complaints against the ‘songs of resistance’, the video-sharing application was forced to take it off the internet.
Asi Vaddange had become a popular anthem of farmers’ protest with over 13 million views, depicting police brutality against the farmers. A BKU leader commented that although it was removed from the internet, the song can not be wiped out from the hearts of protesters.
Source – The Hindu