New Delhi, August 13
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday targeted Twitter for locking his handle, alleging that the platform was biased and was interfering with the Indian political process.
“By shutting down my Twitter they are interfering in our political process. A company is making its business to define our politics. And as a politician I don’t like that,” Gandhi said in a recorded video statement.
Gandhi said the locking of his account is an attack on the democratic structure of the country.
“This is not an attack on Rahul Gandhi. This is not, you know, simply shutting Rahul Gandhi down. I have 19million-20 million followers. You are denying them the right to an opinion. That’s what you are doing. So this is not only patently unfair, this is their breaching the idea that Twitter is a neutral platform. And for the investors this is a very dangerous thing because taking sides in the political contest has repercussions for Twitter,” he said.
The Congress leader said Indian democracy is under attack and the opposition is not allowed to speak in Parliament.
“The media is controlled. And I thought there was a ray of light where we could put what we thought on Twitter. But obviously, that’s not the case. It’s obvious now that Twitter is actually not a neutral, objective platform. It is a biased platform. It’s something that listens to what the government of the day says,” he alleged.
Gandhi said, “As Indians, we have to ask the questions ‘Are we going to allow companies just because they are beholden to the Government of India to define our politics for us? Is that what this is going to come to? Or are we going to define our politics on our own?’ That’s the real question here.”
Twitter India, which has locked the handles of several Congress leaders, on Thursday said the action had proceeded due diligence.
The accounts remain suspended because the account holders have yet to delete “unlawful pictures of the family of a minor Dalit victim allegedly assaulted and murdered in Delhi last Sunday,” Twitter sources said.
The company said the tweets were found in violation of the juvenile justice law that protects the privacy of minor victims in all manners.
The accounts of Congress leaders and workers have been locked to “hide these tweets until the account holders delete them”.
The Congress has not taken down the tweets so far and has said Twitter has not applied its rules uniformly and many BJP leaders and statutory commissions that posted similar pictures continued to operate through their handles without any action.
Among temporarily suspended Twitter accounts are those of Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Makan, KC Venugopal, Sushmita Dev, Manickam Tagore and Jitendra Singh.