Microblogging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has withheld the accounts of United States-based human rights organisations Indian American Muslim Council and Hindus for Human Rights in India.
The social media platform said the two accounts were withheld in response to a legal demand.
While it was not immediately clear on what grounds the accounts were withheld, the Indian American Muslim Council said it had been informed by X that it had received “a legal removal demand from the Government of India… that claims the following content violates India’s Information Technology Act, 2000”.
The organisation did not provide details on the content that X referred to.
Section 69 of the Information Technology Act allows the Centre to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries such as X if the content is deemed a threat to national security, sovereignty or public order.
The two non-profit organisations have been carrying out advocacy on subjects related to minority rights and caste inequality in India.
Calling for immediate restoration of access to its account in India, the Indian American Muslim Council’s Executive Director Rasheed Ahmed said on Monday that the organisation’s X account serves as an important medium for Indian-American Muslims to highlight “Hindu nationalism and worsening human rights conditions of persecuted minority groups in India”.
“Silencing our voice on social media is an affront not just to our organisation but to the democracy in the United States and India,” Ahmed said. “X executive Elon Musk is working hand in glove with Modi’s authoritarian regime to block a US-based organization. X is accelerating the suppression of free expression and democracy in India and the US.”
Hindus for Human Rights said that X offered no explanation for why this demand was made, “nor has it offered any opportunities for an inquiry or an appeal of this suspension”.
“It is clear that this demand is part of a larger and ongoing crackdown by the Modi regime against dissenting voices both in and out of India,” Hindus for Human Rights said on Monday. “Though the withholding of HfHR’s Twitter account in India is deeply alarming, we will not be silenced.”
In June, Union minister Smriti Irani attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for meeting American activist Sunita Vishwanath, an executive director of the Hindus for Human Rights. Irani alleged that Vishwanath was linked to and among those “funded by” Hungarian-American investor George Soros. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has for long accused Soros of trying to hurt Indian democracy and seeking to destabilise its government at the Centre.