Twitter on Tuesday suspended Bollywood singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s account , after he posted a series of allegedly offensive tweets. The singer claims the move is aimed at curbing nationalist voices like his. The singer’s tweets were targeted at JNU student Shehla Rashid’s tweet against BJP.
Talking to The Indian Express on Tuesday, he said, “My tweets were not at all offensive. The entire nation today stands with me . Those offended are the anti-national elements . They can abuse the Indian Army, they can speak against our Prime Minister and get away, but mere replying to their tweets can get your accounts suspended.”
Twitter took the step after users accused the 58-year-old singer of using “inappropriate” and “insulting” language.
“Account Suspended: This account has been suspended…,” stated the message from Twitter on his handle. Abhijeet has been a serial offender on Twitter. The singer had received flak on the social media site for a series of inflammatory tweets against journalist Swati Chaturvedi, who had registered a police complaint against him last year in July. The complaint led to his arrest. On being released on bail, the singer reportedly broke into tears.
The regret didn’t last long, for the defiant singer later said he would repeat his words if he wished to. On May 22, Abhijeet spewed venom at some women Twitter users, including JNU student-activist Shehla Rashid, which
prompted some of the netizens to lodge a complaint with Twitter. “Sincere thanks to everyone for the support. Abhijeet had to delete his tweet. His Twitter account has also been suspended,” Shehla tweeted today.
Abhijeet had previously retweeted about the JNU student, “There is rumour she took money for two hours and didn’t
satisfy the client… big racket.” In another tweet, he had insulted a woman Twitter user when she called him out for his incendiary tweets, where he wrote, “You Ms Pak. Tell me your cage no? Will reach there… Will do the favourite pose.” However, it is unclear if the decision taken by Twitter is temporary or permanent.
When contacted, Abhijeet told PTI, “Author Arundhati Roy and people supporting JNU” were behind the suspension of his account. “Yes, I just saw it. They are trying to block Paresh Rawal also. All Arundhati and JNU group behind this after Paresh Rawal and I tweeted against Arundhati for her anti-India stand,” he said.
BJP MP actor Paresh Rawal kicked up a row with his remark that author Roy should be tied to an army jeep instead of a stone pelter, a reference to an incident in Kashmir where a protester was used as a “human shield” by security personnel against a mob. Asked if he would take any step to reinstate his Twitter handle, Abhijeet said, “I (don’t) care a damn… entire nation is with me.”
Meanwhile, this is what Twitter has to say: “We do not comment on individual accounts but what we can say is that our rules are clear and we enforce them. We want people to feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs but we draw the line when it comes to behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behaviour designed to consciously harass, intimidate, or silence another person’s voice. Those that violate our policies may find their account temporarily locked and/or be subject to permanent suspension. We encourage anyone who spots someone engaging in abusive behavior to report the content in-app or file a report.”