Thursday, May 6, 2021
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Is Twitter trying to spread casteist divide in India?

Twitter may argue that caste inherently has an Indian context and Jack might be unaware of it. Even then, it’s a prima facie case of promoting hatred between caste and communities and the claims of Twitter India must be thoroughly investigated after registering a case.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in India and he is in news for all the wrong reasons. From meeting with Rahul Gandhi to devise a strategy against fake news to inappropriate posture while talking to a state head, the controversy around him is refusing to die down.

Recently, he courted another controversy, when he met a group of women journalists to understand their experiences while using Twitter.

In the photo, Jack is seen to be standing with a few women journalists. He is holding a poster which reads, “Smash Bramhinical Patriarchy”. If one were to argue on behalf of Jack, in the Rahul Gandhi episode, his behaviour can be ascribed to his ideological slant which he has agreed to in the past.

The impropriety while sitting crossed leg with PM Modi, on the other hand, can be best attributed to lack of intercultural communication. However, the recent incident is not only improper, unethical and unbecoming of a professional, it is also criminal as per Indian law.

Under IPC sections 295A and 153A, whoever by words, either spoken or written promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of caste or community, disharmony or feelings of enmity shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

The said picture generated a lot of discontent among Indian Twitter users as they questioned if Twitter’s official stand is against a particular caste of India. After much outrage, Twitter India has come up with a lame excuse which has multiple holes in the theory.

To begin with, we need to really understand, who exactly are the change makers here and what tangible change have they brought in the society except hosting talk shows if that can be called a change at all. Now, Twitter India conveniently sidesteps the question of spreading casteist hatred by describing it as “A gift from a Dalit activist”. This sounds hollow for multiple reasons.

The poster is a clear propaganda material. Nobody gifts such posters to anyone unless a Maoist sympathiser is meeting a fellow comrade. But even for arguments sake, even if one is to assume that this indeed was a gift, are we to believe that the CEO cum founder of a billion dollar company trading on NYSE is so naive not to understand the brazen hatred and deep casteist divide the “gift” carries and pose for a photo with it.

Will Jack pose for a photo if a Kashmiri Pandit was to gift him with a poster with “Smash Islamic Terrorism” written in all capitals? This question becomes more contextual as Twitter India claims that the poster is symbolic of the company’s effort to see, hear and understand all sides of important public conversations.

Twitter may argue that caste inherently has an Indian context and Jack might be unaware of it. Even then, it’s a prima facie case of promoting hatred between caste and communities and the claims of Twitter India must be thoroughly investigated after registering a case.

And while we are on the criminality, it’s not just Jack but entire delegation in the photo that must be investigated to check if this was a planned propaganda to incite hatred. Some were quick to feign ignorance and brazen it out in the face of screaming evidence when called out of their hypocrisy.

We have recently seen, in the case of Abhijit Iyer, how colonial laws have been used against citizens to curb free speech. No less than CJI had then commented that he has seen the video and it indeed invited religious feelings. Hence he isn’t entitled to bail.

Abhijit has been in jail since last 25 days. Likewise, this is also a clear case of inciting casteist feelings and promoting enmity.  We hope the Indian authorities take cognizance of the matter and allow the law to take its course like it did in the case of Abhijit.

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