Earlier today scores of Kashmiri activists received an email from Twitter’s legal section. The email noted that Twitter Inc. had received official correspondence regarding certain Twitter accounts.
The correspondence or a dossier prepared by the Indian government has alleged that these Twitter accounts are in the violation of the Indian law.
Kashmiri activists account are being withheld from viewing in India
Some accounts have already reported being not to able reach their followers in Kashmir. One user @pzumer claims his handle’s reach has been blocked and the tweets no longer appear to his followers in the valley.
Account taken off
Here’s an excerpt from the mail received.
“The correspondence claims that your account is in violation of Indian law.
Please note we may be obligated to take action regarding the content identified in the complaint in the future. Please let us know by replying to this email as soon as possible if you decide to voluntarily remove the content identified on your account.”
Over the last seven years, Twitter is the most popular platform of Kashmiri journalists, human rights activists, bloggers and also a large section of the youth. Kashmiri activists who see their voices throttled by the Indian mainstream media, have used Twitter to amplify their voices globally.
With multiple campaigns to bring awareness to the human rights situation in Kashmir, the activists would receive death threats and rape threats from Indian trolls. Earlier this year, these trolls as identified as being part of the propaganda machine run by the RSS-BJP.
Speaking to one such Kashmiri activist, who chose to remain anonymous said,”The Indian state is now after us on Twitter, after choking our voices on other social media platforms.”
The email has been sent at 4:16 am Indian standard time, to all these accounts en masse.
Later today, a Pakistani journalist Sabena Siddiqi also put out a screenshot of the email on her Twitter account. She later commented that she had sent a reply to Twitter, “I want to see which tweets, India has objections about.”
— Sabena Siddiqi (@sabena_siddiqi) September 1, 2017
Another Kashmiri journalist who chose to be anonymous said, “It is an unusual email from Twitter, I wasn’t sure if it was from Twitter but then I checked the email’s domain, it was official.”
Over the few years, India has increased its surveillance on Kashmiri activists on social media. Some of them have even been detained. With Indian propaganda machinery running fake Twitter trends about Kashmir while impersonating as Kashmiris, Twitter has done nothing to maintain a check on them.
An email was sent to Twitter to respond, as of this post’s publication, there has been no official response.
In July this year, the Jammu Kashmir Police’s intelligence wing had compiled a list of ‘secessionist writers’. A CID official was quoted in the Tribune saying, “It is an exercise to create a data bank.”
It remains to be seen how far Twitter is willing to go to collude with the Indian state to put curbs on freedom of expressions of Kashmiris or pro Kashmiri voices on Twitter. Last year Facebook and Instagram had taken down pro Kashmir accounts from their platforms, after requests were made by the Indian authorities.
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