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Twitter's Explanation Inadequate, Says MPs' Panel on Showing Ladakh as Part of China

Fighter plane over mountains in Leh, Ladakh (Reuters)

Fighter plane over mountains in Leh, Ladakh (Reuters)

A controversy had erupted after a distinguished fellow of India-based think tank Observer Research Foundation pointed out that Twitter India showed Jammu and Kashmir as a part of PRC.

Days after Twitter India showed Ladakh as a part of People's Republic of China, a panel of MPs on data protection said on Wednesday that the clarification offered by the micro-blogging website is "inadequate."

Twitter India officials were quizzed by the parliamentary Joint Committee on Data protection following a major controversy that erupted after a distinguished fellow of India-based think tank Observer Research Foundation pointed out that Twitter India showed Jammu and Kashmir as a part of the People's Republic of China.

The Committee was unanimous in its view that Twitter's explanation was inadequate, the panel's chairman Meenakshi Lekhi told news agency PTI. The BJP MP added that showing Ladakh as part of China amounted to a criminal offence which could attract jail for up to seven years. Lekhi added that authorities at Twitter said that it respects the sensitivities of India.

"But this is inadequate. It is not just a question of sensitivity. It is against the sovereignty and integrity of India," the report quoted her as saying.

Officials who deposed before the panel on behalf of Twitter India included Shagufta Kamran, senior manager, public policy, Ayushi Kapoor, legal counsel, Pallavi Walia, policy communications, and Manvinder Bali, corporate security. Notably, officials from the Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology, and Ministry of Law and Justice also deposed before the panel.

"So @Twitter has decided to reconfigure geography and declare Jammu & Kashmir as part of People's Republic of #China . If this is not a violation of #India laws, what is? Citizens of India have been punished for far less. But US Big Tech is above the law?", Gupta wrote on October 18 tagging Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Several netizens also asked Prasad and the government to take action against Twitter India. "No @Twitter this is not a freak happenstance," Gupta said in another tweet.

After uproar on social media, a Twitter India spokesperson had confirmed to News18 last week that the tag occurred as a result of a “technical issue”, which was resolved.

The spokesperson for Twitter India had told News18, “We became aware of this technical issue on Sunday, and understand and respect the sensitivities around it. The teams have worked swiftly to investigate and resolve the concerned geotag issue.”

(with PTI inputs)


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