Microblogging site Twitter on Thursday blocked journalist Aakar Patel’s account in India, a week after a first information report was filed against him for allegedly suggesting that marginalised groups of Indians should emulate the protests currently on in the United States against the police’s killing of an African American man named George Floyd.
In a notice to Patel, the microblogging site said that his account violated Indian laws and would be blocked for users in the country, but will remain operational outside India. Twitter added that it was in touch with authorities in India, who demanded that his account be blocked.
Patel told Scroll.in that he has not been informed about who sought action or about the allegations against him, adding that this ensured he cannot seek legal recourse in this situation. “Social media should be transparent,” he said. “They should at least be able to tell a person why their account has been blocked. They did not give me any information.”
Patel had posted some video clips of the protests against the death of Floyd. In his tweets, he had asked Muslims, Dalit, Advasis and women in India to stage similar protests against their conditions.
Patel was booked under sections 505 (1) (b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the state or public tranquility), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 117 (abetting commission of an offence by the public or by more than ten persons) of the Indian Penal Code by the Bengaluru Police.
The murder of George Floyd has renewed the discussion about deep-rooted racism in the United States. The protests against his killing have grown into a worldwide movement against oppression and injustice.
On May 25, four police officials detained Floyd after he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store in Minnesota. Protests grew after a widely shared video showed a white former police officer kneeling for almost nine minutes on Floyd’s neck. Floyd was seen gasping for breath, pleading with the officials saying, “I can’t breathe”. He died on the spot. An autopsy found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.