This Article is From Feb 15, 2021

Twitter Deletes Haryana Minister's Tweet On Disha Ravi, Then A U-Turn

Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested Sunday in connection with a "toolkit" - relating to the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws - that Delhi Police say is proof of a conspiracy against the country

Twitter Deletes Haryana Minister's Tweet On Disha Ravi, Then A U-Turn

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij tweeted that Disha Ravi "should be destroyed" (File)

New Delhi:

A tweet by Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij - in which he says those with "seeds of anti-nationalism... should be destroyed... whether Disha Ravi or anyone else" - has been investigated and "is not subject to removal" under rules governing extreme speech online, Twitter said Monday afternoon.

Hours earlier Twitter issued a notice to Mr Vij, saying it had deleted the tweet based on a complaint from a user in Germany; the complaint was under Germany's Network Enforcement Act - which obliges social network providers to delete unlawful content within a short timeframe.

The full tweet (in Hindi) has since been restored and translates as: "If seeds of anti nationalism have been sown in somebody's thought process, he/she should be destroyed from roots... whether she is Disha Ravi or anyone else."

In the screenshot shared by Mr Vij, a message from Twitter reads: "Twitter is required by German law to provide notice to users who are reported by people from Germany via the Network Enforcement Act reporting flow... We have investigated the reported content and have found that it is not subject to removal under the Twitter rules."

Late Monday night a complaint was filed in Bengaluru, seeking registration of an FIR (first information report) against Mr Vij for "his hateful statement calling for the killing of Disha Ravi on Twitter".

The complaint was filed a group called Campaign Against Hate Speech.

Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested Sunday in connection with a "toolkit" - later also tweeted by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg - relating to the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws.

The police allege Ms Ravi was a key conspirator and, in an attempt to revive a Khalistani group, prepared and spread a document that is meant to "spread disaffection against the Indian state".

The police have also named Nikita Jacob, a lawyer, and Shantanu Muluk, an activist, in this case. They say all three created the document and then passed it to others for editing.

Ms Ravi's arrest triggered outrage after it emerged Delhi Police did not get permission from a local court, as is the legal precedent. It also emerged that she did not have her own lawyer when she was produced in court on charges of sedition and conspiracy and sent to five days' police custody.

Disha Ravi, who argued her own case, told the court: "I did not make the Toolkit. We wanted to support the farmers. I edited two lines on February 3."

Jairam Ramesh, a former minister and lawmaker for the opposition Congress party, called her arrest and detention "completely atrocious" and "unwarranted harassment and intimidation".

The chief ministers of both Bengal and Delhi have also expressed outrage; Mamata Banerjee condemned the centre for arresting those protesting against its policies and Arvind Kejriwal called Ms Ravi's arrest an "unprecedented attack on democracy".

Last week the Supreme Court issued Twitter and the centre a notice on a petition asking for a mechanism to check fake news, hate messages and incendiary content on its platform.

Social media accounts were used by political parties to "tarnish the image of opponents", particularly during elections, the BJP's Vinit Goenka, who filed the petition, said.

This comes at a time the centre is demanding the deletion of 1,000 accounts and posts that it says are spreading provocative content linked to the farmers protests. Twitter said the content was not blocked because the centre's orders were not in line with Indian laws.