Facebook on Saturday suspended the page of Malayali poet K Satchidanandan for 24 hours after he posted a video mocking the Bharatiya Janata Party’s loss in the recently-concluded Kerala Assembly elections, the Manorama Online reported.
“This came last night and the reason is for posting a hilarious video about Amit Shah and the loss of the Kerala unit of the BJP in the recent Assembly polls,” Satchidanandan told the website. “I had also posted another advertisement about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I had received both these on my WhatsApp.”
The BJP failed to win a single seat in the 140-member Assembly in the state elections, while the Left Democratic Front won a clear majority, bagging 99 seats.
The poet said he was unable to create a post or share them, or even comment on through his Facebook account. He added that earlier, on April 21, he he had received warning from Facebook over one of his comments, following which his comments kept disappearing after he posted them. The ban, Satchidanandan said, should be over by Saturday night.
Late on Saturday, Satchidanandan put up a post saying, “Twelve years of poetry and protest can hardly be erased by twenty-four hours of silence.”
In another post, he said: “If the choice is between being on the FB and being a democrat and a human rights defender, I have no doubt where I should stand.”
The Malayali poet added that as per the regulations of the ban, he has been prohibited from doing a “Facebook Live” for 30 days, for allegedly violating the social media website’s “community standards”.
“When I tried to post an article against the suppression of criticism that appeared in the medical journal Lancet, I got the message that “you are trying to post something other people on Facebook have found abusive”,” Satchidanandan told Manorama Online. “So I feel that there are preying eyes behind critics like me.”
The poet was referring to an editorial published in medical journal The Lancet on Saturday that squarely held Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poor handling of the coronavirus crisis for the devastating second wave of the pandemic.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor criticised Facebook’s move, calling it “deplorable”. “We must not allow censorship into our politics!” he tweeted.