CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday said he was shocked that the Centre found time to go after those calling for its accountability during a time of crisis, reacting to reports that Twitter and other social media platforms removed content related to the COVID-19 pandemic following the government’s order.
“It is shocking that the government finds time to go after those calling for their accountability. To NOT do this at this time would be anti-India. Modi government has failed the system. They are accountable,” he tweeted, tagging a media report on Twitter removing some tweets related to the pandemic.
“At a time of a national emergency like this with an ineffectual and callous government landing us in this mess, the job of everyone is to assist and help every other person. Only social solidarity can take us through,” he said.
Twitter and other social media platforms have removed about 100 posts and URLs after the government asked them to remove content that was critical of the handling of the current medical crisis or spreading fake news around the pandemic. Twitter said it has notified the impacted account holders of its action taken in response to a legal request from the Indian government, while Facebook did not comment on the issue.
Reports citing Lumen database (an independent research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content) suggested that more than 50 posts – including those by a Member of Parliament, MLA and filmmakers – were removed by Twitter on government request.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. The country logged a record 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections in a day taking its total tally of cases to 1,69,60,172, while active cases crossed the 26-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll increased to 1,92,311 with a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 26,82,751, which account for 15.82 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 83.05 per cent.