Bengaluru: BJP MP Anant Kumar Hegde has torn into social media website Twitter after his account (@AnantkumarH) was allegedly suspended over comments about the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary organisation that has been linked to a spurt in coronavirus incidence in India.
In two separate missives Saturday – a press note and a “confidential” letter to PM Narendra Modi later released to media – Hegde accused the US social media giant of “digital colonisation”.
The Karnataka MP, who is known for making controversial remarks, also called for the development of “Indian version” of Twitter.
“Digital colonisation can also be challenged with digital sovereignty …freedom of speech and expression can only be guaranteed by data sovereignty and transparency,” he said.
In the letter to the PM, the former union minister said the website selectively targeted several “nationalist and pro-Indian handles” even as it “promoted”, via paid ads, accounts that “spew poison and pass objectionable comments about Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister, Chief Ministers of India and other Indian establishments”. He also urged the PMO to investigate tweets he described as “anti-India, anti-BJP, anti-Modi, (and) anti-establishment”.
“I am attaching tweets whereby pro-Khalistan tweets were sponsored and accepted by Twitter Inc. I fail to understand how such a tweet does not violate their own policy,” he wrote.
Hegde later released a media note where he claimed Twitter took action against him for statements “explicitly trying to reveal the modus operandi and hidden agenda of the Tablighi Jamaat” and “exposing a pro-Khalistan tweet from a handle by the name Guru Patwant Pannun”.
“I will certainly never delete the said tweet because it was supposed to expose the wrong being done under the umbrella of a religion,” Hegde stated.
A history of controversy
Hegde is no stranger to controversy and is known to make provocative remarks. In 2017, Hegde claimed the BJP intends to change the Constitution, apparently to delete the word “secular”. “It will be changed in the days to come. We are here for that and that is why we have come,” he had claimed.
A few days earlier, Hegde had said there will “be terrorism as long as there is Islam in the world”. “Until we uproot Islam, we can’t remove terrorism,” he had claimed.
At the height of the Sabarimala controversy, he said the Kerala government’s handling of the crisis was similar to “daylight rape” of Hindus.
He has also claimed that the Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva temple built by King Paramatheertha, which was known as Tejo Mahalaya, and dismissed Mahatma Gandhi’s role in the freedom struggle.
This is an updated version of the report