BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Thursday challenged Twitter to reveal the legal notice that it said it had received from "Indian law enforcement" against violations by his account on the social media platform.
"I am certain I have violated no law and that no law agency would have found anything offensive in my tweets. Twitter should clarify their basis for such correspondence. Shocked by their behaviour," the lawmaker from UP's Pilibhit said.
He attached a screenshot of an email that he said he had received from Twitter, informing him of "a request from Indian Law Enforcement" regarding his account, that claimed his account had violated Indian laws.
Twitter advocates for free expression, but fails in deed. I am certain I have violated no law and that no law agency would have found anything offensive in my tweets. @Twitter should clarify their basis for such correspondence. Shocked by their behaviour. pic.twitter.com/0EjZSj2f9e— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) June 24, 2021
He appended the post with an accusation on-brand with his party's running feud with the social network: "For too long now, Twitter has indulged in online bullying of our citizens for their diversity of political views to make us conform with their 'woke' propaganda."
For too long now,Twitter has indulged in online bullying of our citizens for their diversity of political views to make us conform with their "woke" propaganda. It should stay a platform,not an ostracizing tribunal.This harassment of Indians will not fly with the law of the land.— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) June 24, 2021
The parliamentarian also said that he had checked from sources within the government whether any agency had sent such a request against his account and found they had not.
I have put out these tweets after enquiring from all possible avenues connected with the Indian law enforcement within the Govt. If @Twitter really has received a complaint regarding my content,let it share the said legal notice & its provenance “in the interest of transparency”.— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) June 24, 2021
Mr Gandhi's run-in with Twitter comes amid its months-long clash with the BJP-led government at the centre over issues ranging from requests to take down tweets supporting the farmers' protest, discrediting posts by leaders of the BJP and more recently new regulation.
Earlier this month, a number of prominent Twitter users in India who are critical of the government including cartoonist Manjul said they had received correspondence from the social networking site informing them that "Indian law enforcement" had asked for action against their accounts.
Among the accounts that were banned was one belonging to Canadian-Punjabi singer Jazzy B, who has frequently tweeted in support of farmers protesting the government's agriculture laws and, in December last year, joined thousands camped on the borders of the national capital.
The accounts were blocked - they have been 'geo-restricted', meaning they can still be accessed from IP addresses outside the country - after a legal demand from the government on Sunday.
"When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter's rules the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only," Twitter said in its statement.
"In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so they're aware that we've received a legal order pertaining to the account. We notify the user(s) by sending a message to the email address associated with the account(s), if available," the statement added.