Anger grows when India orders Twitter to remove posts critical of Covid’s reaction

Anger mounted on India On Monday after the government ordered Twitter to remove posts that were critical of its treatment COVID-19 A pandemic that devastated a large area of ​​the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi It has been accused of downplaying the country’s response to the pandemic. The government’s order was intended to post criticizing Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Twitter said in Lumen.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that it was partially responding to government requests and withholding content only in India.

West Bengal politician Moroi Gatak said on Twitter last week, “India never forgives Prime Minister @ narendramodi for underestimating the country’s corona situation and killing many people due to mismanagement. There will be no. ” “When India was in a health crisis, the Prime Minister chose to export millions of vaccines to other countries.”

Gataku’s tweets were among the dozens listed in government orders. Banned posts can be viewed outside India.

This removal was made after India reported 352,991 new infections on Monday. This is the world record for the fifth consecutive day, with the total number of cases in India exceeding 17 million since the pandemic began. According to Johns Hopkins University, 195,123 people died in Covid-19, India. This is the fourth highest number after the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

Surge brought Pain and despair As hospitals address a serious shortage of health care, millions of families across the country, many of whom use Twitter to secure hospital beds and ventilators.

In a phone call with Modi on Monday, President Joe Biden promised US support to Indians affected by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, according to information from the White House.

The United States provides a variety of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and remedies, the information said.

To tw paireetsModi described the conversation with Biden as “fruitful” and thanked the president for his support. He said the discussion emphasized the importance of a “smooth and efficient” supply chain for vaccine ingredients and medicines.

Modi remains largely silent about the crisis, but allows thousands of religious festivals and election rallies to continue.

“Many people are using social media to help those in need. So many lives have been saved,” said Rohan Gupta of the Indian National Congress, chair of opposition social media, on Sunday. I wrote in. “now, [the government] I want to talk about the last resort to express myself in these difficult times. “

A spokeswoman said Twitter said it had considered content that the government requested to be removed after receiving a “valid legal request” from the Indian government. The law cited by the government is the Information Technology Act of 2000, which requires authorities to block public access to information in order to protect “India’s sovereignty and integrity” and maintain public order. I can.

Image: Healthcare workers carry the bodies of people suffering from Covid-19 outside New Delhi's Gluteg Bahadur Hospital (Adnan Abidi / Reuters)

Image: Healthcare workers carry the bodies of people suffering from Covid-19 outside New Delhi’s Gluteg Bahadur Hospital (Adnan Abidi / Reuters)

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Modi’s BJP party did not immediately respond to requests for comment via email and Twitter.

“Attempts to silence this criticism are unbalanced and do not respect rights,” Menakshi Ganguley, director of Asia at Human Rights Watch, told NBC News.

“Indians are angry and angry that the state was unable to prevent these shortages of health care,” Gangley said.

Twitter blocked dozens of accounts posted about peasant protests after the government complained in January that users were posting content aimed at inciting violence, according to Reuters.

Earlier this year, the government also temporarily blocked Internet access in the suburbs of New Delhi. Tens of thousands of farmers camp on the streets demanding the withdrawal of the new farming law.

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