Microblogging platform Twitter has tendered a verbal apology before a parliamentary committee for showing Ladakh as part of China. This comes a day after the joint parliamentary committee on Data Protection Bill came down heavily on Twitter saying it amounted to treason.
On Wednesday, representatives of Twitter had appeared before the committee, chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, and "begged apology" but they were told by the members that it was a criminal offence that questioned the soverignty of the country and an affidait must be submitted by Twitter Inc, not by its 'marketing arm' Twitter India, sources told PTI.
They were questioned for more than two hours by the panel members, mainly on Ladakh being shown as part of China on the Twitter app.
"The committee was of the unanimous opinion that Twitter's explanation on showing Ladakh as part of China was inadequate," Lekhi told PTI after the meeting.
The Twitter representatives told the panel that the social media company respects the sensitivities of India, she said.
"But, it is not only a question of the sensitivity of India or Indians. It is a question about national integrity and sovereignty of the country, and not respecting that is a criminal offence. And displaying Indian map improperly and incorrectly is an offence of treason and attracts imprisonment of seven years,” she said.
Lekhi said Twitter was also asked about its banning policy.
"Shadow banning, banning policy… there is no clarity about it. Such actions are very subjective...Twitter is becoming a law onto themselves and under these circumstances, they are violating Article 19 of the Constitution about the freedom of expression," she said.
Sources said some members also raised questions about Twitter's transparency policy and its actions during elections, especially vis-a-vis their policies in other countries.
(With PTI inputs)