New Delhi: After Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’ controversy last year, the social media giant finds itself at the centre of another ‘caste’ row in India.
Indian users are upset with Twitter due to its alleged caste discrimination, such as taking arbitrary action against those from marginalised classes while remaining soft on hate-peddlers.
Users have been trending hashtags like #CasteistTwitter, #JaiBhimTwitter and #SackManishMaheswari to make their point. Manish Maheshwari is the managing director of Twitter India.
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The latest controversy began after the account of Dilip Mandal, senior journalist and Consulting Editor with ThePrint, was restricted. Mandal led the online fightback, and other users joined in, accusing Twitter of being harsh on weaker sections of society such as Dalits, Muslims, tribals and backward classes.
Supreme Court lawyer Nitin Meshram summed up the grievances in a tweet, saying: “#Twitter India is discriminating against SC-ST-OBC activists in suspending & verifying their accounts.”
Meshram added: “Twitter lacks uniform rules & therefore, #CasteistTwitter suppress Dalit, OBC, & Tribal activists by unequal reference to its rules.”
What is our grievance: 1. #Twitter India is discriminating against Sc-St-OBC activists in suspending & verifying their accounts.
2. Twitter lacks uniform rules & therefore, #CasteistTwitter suppress Dalit, OBC, & Tribal activists by unequal reference to its rules.#JaiBhimTwitter
— Nitin Meshram (@nitinmeshram_) November 2, 2019
User @ajnabi_guy tweeted: “Stop suspending dalit bahujan handles. Get well soon @Twitter and reflect your all inclusive non-discriminatory face (If you have any).”
Triple slap on the face of Casteist @TwitterIndia
and now #JaiBhimTwitter
Stop suspending dalit bahujan handles.
Get well soon @Twitter and reflect your all inclusive non-discriminatory face (If you have any) @jackhttps://t.co/gCAGPJoCJx
— Ajnabi 🐦 (@ajnabi_guy) November 2, 2019
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani also tweeted in support of the #JaiBhimTwitter trend: “Jai Bhim! For dignity, consciousness and struggle!”
Jai Bhim! For dignity, consciousness and struggle! #JaiBhimTwitter
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) November 2, 2019
Once the trend #SackManishMaheswari started trending, Twitter allegedly removed it, and was called out by Mandal himself.
“How could you remove a top trend #SackManishMaheshwari within few seconds in trending list?” Mandal tweeted. “You are going to somewhere, where you should not have gone. You just destroyed your credibility.”
ThePrint reached Twitter for a comment, but received no response until the time of publishing this report.
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Mandal also alleged that there are lakhs of verified Twitter accounts, but he does not know of even 100 intellectuals, writers or other professionals from the SC/ST/OBC communities whose accounts have been given the ‘blue tick’ by Twitter.
He said Twitter must set criteria for awarding the ‘blue tick’.
“Make rules for verification and blue ticks. Do you want graduates, PhDs? What rank do you want? How many followers? How many books should a writer have written? Do you want lawyers, farmers, doctors? Do you want a man or an ox? Make some rules, and verify according to those rules. Don’t practice casteism,” he wrote in Hindi.
The hashtag #VerifySCSTOBCMinority trended on Indian Twitter Monday evening.
Mandal also ran a hashtag “Brahmanvaadi Twitter” by saying that the ‘blue tick’ is social media’s ‘janeu’ (sacred thread worn by Brahmins) which divides society into upper and lower castes.
Mandal’s Twitter account was verified Monday after ThePrint applied for it. But he also tweeted against it and demanded its removal. “Yeh mera blue tick hatao. Kisne maanga tha. Sabko samaan status do. Jismein dum hoga uski baat aage jayegi. (Remove my blue tick. Who asked for it? Give everyone the same status. Those who deserve it will be heard),” he wrote.
250 people issue a statement
Around 250 people, including journalists, activists, educationists, lawyers, engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs, wrote to Twitter, urging it to act responsibly and stop hate-peddlers from misusing the platform.
The letter raised concerns about coordinated “hate hashtag attacks”, offensive trends and spreading calls for the boycott of certain communities.
“Twitter must act tough against people who with a malafide intention target peace and harmony in the country by tweeting inflammatory stuff. Such messages, particularly, open calls for discrimination and boycott against any group or community,” the group stated.
“…Hashtags such as Musalmanon ka sampoorn bahishkar (complete boycott of Muslims), violate the principles enshrined in Indian Constitution, (and) must not be allowed on Twitter,” the letter read.
“Despite reporting the accounts, they remain active…many of the hate-peddlers have been found sharing content that was found fake by independent fact-checkers and government agencies, yet their accounts remain active,” it continued.
“Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t seem interested in taking action against such messages and hate speech though it causes fissures in society and propaganda on social media has led to violence-mob attacks.”
‘Smash Brahminical patriarchy’ row
Last November, Twitter CEO Dorsey had sparked a row by posing for a picture with a placard reading ‘Smash Brahminical patriarchy’, which upset Hindu nationalists and some members of the Brahmin caste.
The company had apologised to users and clarified that “neither Twitter nor Dorsey endorsed the sign’s message that the oppression of the Hindu caste system — which places Brahmins at the top — must be dismantled alongside male dominance”. But this response had only angered Indian activists who oppose patriarchy and the caste system.
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Mr. Dilip Mandal is a well known rabble rouser. His casteist articles and opinion pieces are proofs of the same. No wonder his account was suspended by Twitter.
And as far as casteist mindset goes, the Nobel Prize committee is the worst amongst all. Even this year it awarded a Brahmin (Dr. Abhijit Banerjee) while neglecting SC/ST/OBCs.
This article is really condemnable because it divides India, it cuts nation into pieces. It is not expected from the Print and Mr. Shekhar Gupta. Just tell me 99% of countrymen may not be aware of caste of the writer Ms Himani Chandna nor of the buffoon Dilip Mandal. Then how Twitter can one’s caste know Mr. Casteist Gupta. Its shameful. You are divisor- in – chief. You can go to any damn level for publicity even at the cost of nation. For last 30 years people of this country irrespective of caste or creed has made you a successful journalist, but you proved your loyalty to tukde tukde gang only. Shame on you! Shame! Shame! If you have any dignity left pl withdraw the article which putting the society on fire.
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