American social media giant Twitter has been accepting money from banned terrorist organisations which have been involved in targeting Indian citizens, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vinit Goenka said on Sunday. “Twitter is involved in wilful collection of money from terrorist organisations perpetrating crimes against citizens of this country,” Goenka, formerly a national co-convenor of BJP’s Information and Technology (IT) Cell, claimed during an online panel discussion.
“Would we tolerate someone who would take blood money to promote the cause of separatism,” asked Goenka.
He said that he had been investigating the promotion of hashtag ‘Khalistan 2020’, which was being backed by US-based group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a secessionist outfit that advocates the creation of a separate Sikh homeland. The outfit is also a primary backer of an online referendum ‘Khalistan 2020.’
During his remarks, Goenka called for drastic measures to regulate the behaviour of the social media giant, which he accused of lacking transparency and being indifferent to the concerns of Indian users.
The authorities should start invoking sedition charges against employees of Twitter India who fail to take action against such ‘anti-national’ content, demanded Goenka. He also proposed stricter checking processes for Twitter users, including introduction of bank-style Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, to regulate fake handles.
The BJP leader questioned as to why there was “no transparency” in the kind of people that the Silicon Valley giant employed in its public policy teams. “There is no transparency either when it comes to the number of followers,” he complained.
Goenka, joined by more than a dozen other panelists from different walks of life, said that it was imperative upon Indian citizens to knock on the doors of courts and other agencies whenever they come across content that violates the law.
The citizens should join the movement by filing FIRs, court cases, e-complaints and even writing letters to the Prime Minister to highlight their concerns, he said, adding that he had been contacted by at least 6,500 people over the last 20 days on the issue.
“A mass boycott of Twitter is the need of the hour. We should develop our own swadeshi (indigenous) competitor to Twitter and migrate to it,” reckoned Goenka.
Earlier in the month, Goenka also filed a plea in the Supreme Court arguing for a mechanism against social media accounts that promote ‘hatred and fake news’ which violate the law of the land. In his plea, the BJP leader said approximately 10 per cent of the 35 million Twitter handles operating from India and fake.