Twitter on Saturday suspended the verified account of a handle called Pakistan Defence (@defencepk), after a Delhi University student complained that her photograph had been morphed and misused by it. The Twitter handle had used a photo of DU student Kawalpreet Kaur, who is also a leader of the All India Students’ Association (AISA), holding a placard.
The handle used a photo of Kaur in front of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, holding a placard that had been morphed to read: “I am an Indian but I hate India, because India is a colonial entity that has occupied nations such as Nagas, Kashmiris, Manipuris, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa.” An accompanying tweet read: “Indians are finally realising the truth; their country is actually a colonialist entity.” The actual placard Kaur was holding read: “I am a citizen of India and I stand with the secular values of our Constitution. I will write against communal mob lynching of Muslims in our country. #Citizens against mob lynching.”
Kaur told The Sunday Express that the particular photo was clicked in July, a day before the ‘Not In My Name’ protests across the country, which were held as a reaction to the killing of 15-year-old Junaid Khan in a local train. In its bio, the @defencepk links to a website, defence.pk, which calls itself a “one-stop resource for Pakistan defence, strategic affairs, security issues, world defence and military affairs”.
The suspended Twitter account had over 304,000 followers and followed 775 accounts. Kaur told The Sunday Express, “I had used this photo as my profile picture on Facebook. It was liked by a lot of people and shared widely. So maybe that is how someone downloaded it and used it against me.” She added that this is not the first time the photo had been misused.
“Earlier, too, I had complained to the Delhi Police cyber cell, but nothing happened against those who had used the picture. But today, it came as a shock since it was shared by a verified account, and despite telling them, the photo was not taken down. It had become a matter of my security,” Kaur said. Kaur, along with many others, including former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid, then complained to Twitter, following which the account was suspended.
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