Twitter Sues Indian Government Over Content Crackdown, Alleges Abuse Of Power - IAMC

Twitter Sues Indian Government Over Content Crackdown, Alleges Abuse Of Power

Twitter has sued the Indian government saying some orders by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to take down content on Twitter amounted to an abuse of power. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday (July 5) the company said the Modi government had abused its power by ordering it to remove several tweets deemed critical of Modi and his TwiiterHindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The blocking of such tweets, Twitter’s petition said, amounted to a violation of freedom of speech.

Twitter’s move follows threats from the Indian government to open criminal proceedings against Twitter executives if they failed to comply with the order, the company stated. Twitter’s petition also argues that some of the orders failed to give notice to the authors of the content.

Tensions with the Indian government flared last year when Twitter declined to fully comply with an order to take down accounts and posts which the Indian government alleged were spreading misinformation about the 2020 farmers’ protests, as well as tweets critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter  has nearly 24 million users in India. In recent years, the BJP government has ordered the takedown of tweets from prominent critics, including India-based Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub. The government has also filed criminal charges against critics such as Shyam Meera Singh and the Indian American Muslim Council for tweeting about violence against minorities.

Hindu Priest Threatens Genocide of Indian Muslims, Implies Muslims Should Be Beheaded

Tapasvi Acharya, a Hindu extremist leader from Uttar Pradesh state, openly threatened a genocide against Indian Muslims if the fast-track court handling the recent and horrific murder of a Hindu by two Muslim extremists does not handover capital punishment to the accused men.

“If these two are not given capital punishment, then I will take the law into my own hands, and with me, one billion other Hindus will also take the laws into their hands and make India jihad-free,” he said in a viral video.

Acharya threatened that if all Muslims do not move to Pakistan and Bangladesh, “a billion Hindus” will “punish” them in the same way the Udaipur victim was killed, which was by beheading.

Acharya also openly declared his support for former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, whose hate speech against Islam and Prophet Muhammad sparked protest and violence across India.

Hindu Extremist Leaders Call For Economic Boycott of Muslims, Threaten Action by ‘Hindu Society’

Speakers at a Hindu supremacist event in Haryana state called for the economic boycott of Muslims, accused Muslims of attempting to forcibly convert Hindus, and gave explicit calls for Hindus to arm themselves to attack Muslim minorities. The attendees also submitted a memorandum before the Deputy Commissioner to evict “illegal immigrants,” referring to Muslims.

“Many Rohingya, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis are illegally staying in Gurgaon and Manesar (Indian cities) by hiding their real identities,” said Devender Singh, a Hindu extremist leader.

The memorandum falsely claimed that those staying “illegally” are also found to have been involved in forced “religious conversion.”

Singh added an economic boycott is the only solution and claimed Muslim shops are not meant for business but are a part of  a “jihad” conspiracy. He also threatened “action” by the “Hindu society” if the administration does not identify those with “illegal documents” within a week.

Muslim Restaurant Owner Arrested For Wrapping Meal In Newspaper With Hindu Deity’s Image

A Muslim restaurant owner in Uttar Pradesh state was arrested for wrapping a meal containing meat in an old newspaper that included a picture of a Hindu deity.

Talib, the restaurant owner, was arrested under the ludicrous charge of “promoting religious enmity” after a complaint from Kailash Gupta, the district president of the Hindu supremacist group Hindu Jagran Manch. In his complaint, Gupta accused Talib of hurting religious sentiments deliberately.

However, a family member of Talib said that the newspaper has been used for packing food items for years. “Does anyone look at the headline of a newspaper or the photos carefully before using it as a wrapper? Can anyone be sent to jail for this?” he asked.

By contrast, Hindu supremacist who call for genocide against Muslims and carry out violent hate crimes are rarely punished adequately.

Muslim Men Tortured in Custody by UP Police Set Free, But At Cost To Families 

Eight Muslim men who were seen in a viral video being brutally beaten in police custody after protests in Uttar Pradesh state last month have been cleared of all charges after police failed to submit any evidence against them.

Their names are no longer in the police report initially filed against 85 Muslims for protest over now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

However, several of the men sustained injuries after being brutally beaten with police batons while in custody. One of the men, Mohammed Ali, had his arm fractured in the assault.

The legal battle itself was a punishment for the mens’ families, as Mohammad Asif, the brother of one of the victims, stated.

“This was all about crushing the poor. We got into debt trying to free my brother. How will a family survive? What will they eat when their breadwinner is jailed and the other one is spending every penny on freeing him?” said Asif.