A notice issued to Twitter India to appear before a parliamentary panel on Information technology has now led to a controversy. While the BJP government claims that Twitter is going to be examined because people of a specific ideology are being targeted the opposition has accused BJP of hypocrisy.
The notice has been linked to recent protests against the platform by Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga who accused the company of suppressing pro-BJP and right-wing handles.
On Tuesday, Anurag Thakur, the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology announced that Twitter India officials have been asked to appear before the panel for a meeting February 11. Representatives of the IT Ministry will also be attending the meeting.
As per the notice posted by Mr Thakur, the agenda of the meeting is "Safeguarding Citizens Rights On Social Media Platforms".
The BJP government claims this is being done as people of a particular ideology are being targeted on Twitter.
"Twitter India needs to understand that India is a democracy and not a banana republic.
The Chairman of the Standing Committee on IT has received complaints that there is discrimination against people of a certain ideology. There are efforts to suppress that ideology. This policy of Twitter is against democracy. This is a kind of undeclared censorship. It is our duty as member of Standing Committee on IT to protect rights of people on social media platforms," Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and BJP Vice President said.
Sources say that the complaints have come from Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga who recently organised protests against Twitter accusing it of bias against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and shutting down pro-BJP and right-wing handles.
The opposition on the other hand has accused BJP of double standards.
Kapil Sibal, Former IT Minister and Congress leader, said, "It is unfortunate that the people who kept on trolling before and after 2014 are now complaining that their voices are not being heard. I sympathise with them. All ideologies should be allowed on Twitter. Twitter should tell what their policy is on such matters."
In a statement given to NDTV, Twitter said, "Discussions with the government are ongoing and we don't have a comment to share at this time."
The IT Ministry is already in the process of consultation on proposed amendments to IT laws in order to make social media giants accountable but it is for the first time that companies are about to be questioned because of complaints of bias against a specific ideology and political party.