It was in January 2014, when Kashmiri journalist & online activist Raheel Khursheed was appointed as Twitter India’s head. The appointment raised many eyebrows, & a petition was floated on change.org (which was the organization where Raheel was Director Communications, India before he joined Twitter) to remove him. The petition & outrage were expectedly dismissed as they came from ‘right wingers’, but they were logical & petitioners had legitimate reasons to protest.
One of them was a tweet from Raheel’s Twitter account @RaheelK, which was embedded to the above mentioned online petition.
What was there in this tweet by Raheel?
A statement was given by then BJP president Nitin Gadkari during a TV interview, where he said that “it was wrong to call Narendra Modi communal”. Reacting to this, Raheel had tweeted: “He oversaw a Muslim massacre for fun.”
The reason why above tweet has been cited, is that it points to the root of two recent controversies involving renowned veteran actor & BJP MP from Ahmedabad East Lok Sabha constituency: Paresh Rawal, singers Abhijeet Bhattacharya & Sonu Nigam on one side, while political activist cum author Arundhati Roy & leftist student leader Shehla Rashid represented the other.
Responding to a report of Arundhati supporting Kashmiri stone pelting mobs & her opposing Major Leetul Gogoi’s action of tying one of them in front of an Army Jeep, Paresh tweeted saying “Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep tie up Arundhati Roy!” Yesterday, Mr. Paresh claimed that he has been ‘coerced by Twitter’, to delete his tweet.
Parallel to this, there was another clash between Abhijeet & Shehla, where the former responded to the latter’s spreading rumor about BJP leaders being involved in sex rackets, by saying that even she has been rumored to be involved in flesh trade herself. Reacting to this, Twitter India has suspended Abhijeet’s account, when it is very obvious that both Shehla & Abhijeet had tweeted almost the same thing.
Following this, singer Sonu Nigam who was recently in controversy regarding his statement on ‘Azaan’, in a series of 24 tweets not only defended Abhijeet, but also condemned Twitter India & has decided to quit the social media platform. Also, the hashtag #IStand WithAbhijeet became one of the top trends on Twitter, which indicates towards a huge support for the singer as well as anger towards Twitter India for being partial.
Add to this, Twitter’s failure to remove Anti-India tweets & accounts of Kashmiri terrorists, separatists & their sympathizers, as well as accounts allegedly promoting ISIS in India. There is enough evidence to conclude that Twitter India head Raheel Khursheed is biased. This reflects in the manner in which accounts are being suspended & people being forced to delete tweets, allegedly by a platform which claims to promote freedom of speech. Is twitter’s freedom of speech only for Anti-national elements?