Why did Delhi police visit Twitter offices in Delhi and Gurgaon?
New Delhi, May 25: Delhi Police has finally raided the Twitter India office in Delhi and Gurgaon on Monday evening apparently days after the social media platform had chosen to label a controversial tweet by BJP chief spokesperson Sambit Patra about a purported Congress 'toolkit" as "manipulated media".
Despite Narendra Modi governments request to remove the label, Twitter refused to budge. The government has calimed that the Congress was using a so-called "toolkit" to derail the Indian government's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.
Twitter and the government of India have been embroiled in war over various issues including the farmer protests. The Congress toolkit case is seen as yet another embarrassment for the central government, which appears to have overplayed its hand.
Twitter office visit "routine process'
Soon after reports claimed that it had "raided" the social media company's offices, said that the police team's visit was a "routine process".
"The Delhi police team went to Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter, as a part of routine process. This was necessitated as we wanted to ascertain who is the right person to serve a notice, as replies by Twitter India MD have been very ambiguous," the statement read.
Another officer said "We want to know what information Twitter has about the toolkit and why they chose to give the 'manipulated media' label. Our team had sent a notice to Twitter in connection with the case. The only intention was to ensure that its notice to Twitter was duly received.
It appears that Twitter has some information that is not known to the police. This information is relevant to the inquiry, Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said.
In contrary, a lawyer with the Internet Freedom Foundation, has called police action against Twitter as a case of intimidation:
"An action to serve a notice can be done through email and post or with multiple police personnel. When it is the latter will create a sense of threat that goes beyond ordinary legal compliance (which itself is doubtful). It is signalling & not to be trivialised," he tweeted.
The Congress alleged that the 'cowardly raid' on the microblogging site's offices by the Delhi Police 'exposes lameduck attempts' to hide a 'fraudulent toolkit' by BJP leaders.
Reacting to the development, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter, 'Cowardly raid on @Twitter unleashed by Delhi Police exposes lameduck attempts to hide the fraudulent toolkit by BJP leaders.' Such attempts to 'murder' freedom of speech lay bare the BJP's guilt, he said and tagged his video statement on the issue.
In the video statement, Surjewala alleged that the 'subjugation of free speech, attempts to stifle every voice that is a dissenting against this government and the state-sponsored fraudulent means to propagate and instill fear continue unabated in Modi government'.
'May I ask why the guilty people are sitting in BJP headquarters and in seat of power but you are raiding Twitter's Office in Delhi and Gurgaon ...the reason is simple that the BJP is running scared of its lies and getting caught and being branded as manipulated and fraudulent by social media platforms,' he said.
Congress toolkit controversy: List of BJP leaders whose posts were tagged 'manipulated media'
BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe
BJP national social media in-charge Priti Gandhi
BJP national social media co-incharge Sunil Deodhar
BJP media panelist Charu Pragya
BJP Delhi general secretary Kuljeet Singh Chahal