US-based Minority Advocacy Groups Decry Withholding of Their X Platform Accounts in India

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The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) said the microblogging platform withheld their accounts without providing any explicit reasons for its action.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), the advocacy organisations promoting justice, pluralism, and the civil rights of Indian Americans, have expressed their dismay over censorship of their accounts on X platform (formerly Twitter) in India.

The organisations said the microblogging platform withheld their accounts without providing any explicit reasons for its action.

Under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, the Indian government has the authority to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries like X when content is perceived as a threat to national security, sovereignty, or public order. This provision has been the subject of extensive debate, as it grants the government substantial control over online platforms.

In a statement issued in Washington, D.C. on Monday, IAMC said it considers the suspension of its X account as an affront not only to the organisation but also to democracy in both the United States and India. It accused X and its executive, Elon Musk, of collaborating with the Indian government to suppress free speech and democracy in both countries.

IAMC also demanded an immediate restoration of its account and sought the support of the international community to address rising threats to freedom of expression in India. The organisation said it is in close contact with its attorneys to challenge the withholding of its account.

A statement from Hindus for Human Rights expressed decried the lack of explanation for the X action and believed it to be part of a broader effort by the Indian government to stifle dissenting voices, both domestically and abroad. It cited previous incidents where the group was targeted by certain Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and right-wing media outlets, which launched online campaigns against its Executive Director, Sunita Viswanath.

Two days after the suspension, X wrote IAMC to inform that the account has been withheld after it received “a legal removal demand from the Government of India… that claims the following content violates India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.”

The Indian government’s sweeping Information Technology Act has already been used to censor many online users.

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