Social media company Twitter has received a legal request to remove tweets of environmental activists protesting the construction of a wall along north Goa’s Vainguinim beach, Medianama reported on Friday.
While Twitter usually receives such a request from the Indian law enforcement agencies or the Centre, there is no clarity yet on who approached the company this time.
The construction of the wall by the promoters of a nearby five-star resort has sparked a huge controversy. Activists and civil society groups have said the construction is illegal and an intrusion into public property, but Fomento Resorts and Hotels Limited has dismissed their allegations. It has claimed that the wall was being built on its own property and would protect the erosion of the beach area, The Quint reported.
Twitter has received legal request to take down most of the posts which have tagged Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with #SaveVanguinimBeach, according to Medianama.
“In the interest of transparency, we are writing to inform you that Twitter has received official correspondence regarding your Twitter account,” the social media giant told the concerned users. “The correspondence claims that the following Tweet, is in violation of Indian laws.”
Twitter said it has not taken any action yet on the reported posts, but it might be obligated in future to comply with the request.
In July 2020, the government had blocked websites of Fridays for Future. The Delhi Police sent notices to the domain hosts of fridaysforfuture.in and claimed the website “depicts objectionable contents and unlawful activities or terrorist act, which are dangerous for the peace, tranquility and sovereignty of the India”.
This came after they took the lead in running a campaign that urged concerned citizens to send an e-mail to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, questioning the contentious aspects of the draft Environment Impact Assessment 2020. Environmentalists accused the government of pushing through the draft law that they claimed whittled down safeguards in haste and without public consultation.
On June 4, Twitter had also informed popular political cartoonist Manjul that it has received a legal request from Indian law enforcement to take action against his social media profile. The government had sought action against Manjul’s profile instead of a specific tweet, claiming it “violates the law(s) of India”.
The cartoonist has illustrated the grim reality of the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India and slow pace of the vaccination drive.
In April, 52 tweets were taken down from the social media platform following orders from the government. The Centre claimed they were spreading fake news, but the majority of these tweets were critical of its handling of the health crisis as the second wave in India led to states grappling with shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccines.
Posts by Congress leaders Pawan Khera, Revanth Reddy, West Bengal minister Moloy Ghatak, actor Vineet Kumar Singh, filmmakers Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das were among those blocked.
The Uttar Pradesh Police have also included Twitter in a first information report for not removing posts about the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad district on June 5. The company has been booked for “intent to a riot, promoting enmity and criminal conspiracy”. The Ghaziabad Police have sent a legal notice to Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in the case.