New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The central government on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with Twitter officials and expressed "strong displeasure" over the way the micro-blogging website acted after an emergency order was issued to remove accounts and hashtags spreading misinformation about farmers' protest in India.

During the meeting, the central government said that "spreading misinformation using incendiary and baseless hashtag referring to 'farmer genocide' when such irresponsible content can provoke and inflame situation is neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression as envisaged under Indian Constitution's Article 19".

"Twitter, as a business entity working in India, must also respect the Indian laws and democratic institutions. Twitter is free to formulate its own rules and guidelines, like any other business entity does, but Indian laws which are enacted by the Parliament of India must be followed irrespective of Twitter's own rules and guidelines," the Centre said in a statement.

"Misuse of Twitter's platform for execution of such campaigns designed to create disharmony and unrest in India is unacceptable and Twitter must take strong action against such well-coordinated campaigns against India, through compliance with the applicable law of the land," the statement said.

The Centre had on Monday asked Twitter to ban over 1,100 accounts for spreading misinformation over farmers' protest. The Centre had said that the accounts were backed by Pakistani and Sikh separatist groups who are trying to revive the pro-Khalistani movement in India. Notably, the Centre had also asked the micro-blogging website to block 257 Twitter accounts last week for spreading fake information over farmers' stir.

Later, the Twitter said that some accounts blocked "within India only", but has not blocked handles of civil society activists, politicians and media as "it would violate their fundamental right to free expression" guaranteed under country's law.

"We informed MeitY of our enforcement actions today, February 10, 2021. We will continue to maintain dialogue with the Indian government and respectfully engage with them," the Twitter had said in blog post.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma