According to reports, Twitter has restored nearly 250 accounts in India that were "withheld" on Monday morning for allegedly using a controversial hashtag. Following a meeting between Twitter officials and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Monday evening, the social media giant decided to restore the blocked accounts.
Reportedly, the Ministry asked the social media giant to block certain accounts "to prevent an escalation of violence" in the backdrop of the farmers protest at Delhi borders. Twitter blocked the accounts including Kisan Ekta Morcha, former Lok Sabha MP and CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim, activist Hansraj Meena, media organisation Caravan India and actor Sushant Singh. Ironically, Twitter restricted Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar's account, who encouraged Twitter to take action against users using the controversial hashtag.
According to Section 69(A) of IT Act, the government can block access to content that would pose a threat to public order. The accounts were "withheld" in response to a 'legal request,' says the message displayed by the site.
Many users slammed Twitter's decision to act as per the government's decision. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "After Facebook, the Modi government seems to have taken control of Twitter India. This backdoor attempt to block the voice of those, who speak for free speech and farmers' rights has unmasked the authoritarian soul of this fascist BJP regime." Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also slammed Twitter's decision to "withhold" accounts.