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Election Commission requests takedown of BJP leader’s tweets promoting religious disharmony

Tweets from opposition parties were also listed for takedown, citing poll-related violations.

Several tweets from social media accounts belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party, Indian National Congress, and a Bharatiya Janata Party politician were withheld by Twitter in India in response to legal notices sent by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The tweets of BJP Youth National General Secretary Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga were withheld for allegedly promoting disharmony between two groups (Sec 153A). In regards to AAP and INC, the ECI in its takedown requests to Twitter said that the tweets were in violation of the provisions of Section 126 (1) (b) of the Representative of the People Act, 1951, which prohibits the display of any election matter after the end of campaigning, and in between the 48 hours leading up to the polling day. Some of the tweets were also in violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Elections are currently underway in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. MediaNama has seen public disclosures of the government orders made available by Twitter to the Lumen Database. This website receives and publishes disclosures by private entities, including social media companies, on the legal takedown notices they get from governments and other entities across the world. The lack of transparency when it comes to takedown requests issued by the Indian government signals that the online space for exercising fundamental rights such as freedom of speech is shrinking. AAP tweets alleging scam by Congress candidate in Goa withheld As many as 12 tweets from the official handle of AAP (with 5.8 million…

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