Congress vs Twitter: Party says its official account blocked by Twitter
New Delhi, Aug 12: The Congress alleged on Thursday that the party's official Twitter handle as well as that of a large number of its leaders and workers have been blocked by the microblogging website, which justified the action saying it has been done for violating rules.
The development comes close on the heels of the blocking of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Twitter handle after he shared pictures of the family of a nine-year-old alleged rape-and-murder victim in Delhi last week in violation of laws.
Twitter, on its part, said the blocking of the accounts of several Congress leaders, including that of Gandhi, was done to protect individual privacy and safety after they posted images that violated its rules.
The Congress accused the website of acting against Gandhi's account under pressure from the government. The chief spokesperson of the party, Randeep Surjewala, said the Narendra Modi government will not be able to suppress their voice by threatening Twitter.
"How much will you scare Twitter at the behest of the police? This is not just an issue of freedom of speech, but it is the issue of raising the voice of a poor Valmiki Dalit girl for justice and bringing it before the country. Till justice is given to the poor girl, we will continue to raise this voice," he said.
"The Modi government cannot cowardly suppress our voice by threatening Twitter," Surjewala told reporters.
On Instagram, the Congress said, "Twitter India has locked the official handle of the principal opposition party. This is an unprecedented attack on the voice of the people."
The head of the Congress's social media department, Rohan Gupta, said the party's official Twitter handle and around 5,000 accounts of its top leaders and workers have been blocked by the website. He alleged that Twitter is acting against the opposition party leaders under pressure from the government.
"Twitter is clearly acting under government's pressure as it did not remove the same pictures shared by the Twitter account of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes for a few days," Gupta said.
The Twitter accounts of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretaries Surjewala, KC Venugopal, Ajay Maken, the party's whip in the Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore, Assam in-charge and former Union minister Jitendra Singh and Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev have also been blocked, the party said.
When contacted, a Twitter spokesperson said the company's rules are enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone in its service.