Congress worker GV Sri Raj’s ‘novel’ protest against Twitter for blocking the party and Rahul Gandhi’s official handle has kicked up a storm in Andhra Pradesh, with the party handing him a suspension letter for “tarnishing” its image.
Sri Raj, son of former Andhra Pradesh MP GV Harsha Kumar, and others fried a dead quail that they christened the “Twitter bird” and the headed to the post office to send the parcel to the Twitter head office in India, the News Minute reported.
In the video, Sri Raj had said, “We are frying the Twitter bird on behalf of the Congress party. You, Twitter bird, have done a mistake by blocking Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account and not promoting our tweets. So, we are frying this and sending it to the headquarters in Delhi.” On the way, Sri Raj and his friends were seen biting into the fried quail.
The dramatic protest, however, upset the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), which alleged that the national leadership of the party was not happy with the development.
As the video went viral, Sri Raj said he was expecting a show-cause notice, hoping to explain his action. Instead, he received a suspension letter from APCC on August 20.
“Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee suspends GV Sri Raj from party’s primary membership for becoming disrespectful to the prestige of party and Rahul Gandhi and tarnishing the image of Congress party.” The suspension letter also claimed that Sri Raj had “tortured a bird in the name of Twitter bird and publicly fried it in oil.”
Justifying his actions, Sri Raj told The News Minute that he had used a dead quail bird and not a live one as was being alleged. He also claimed there was a conspiracy to malign him.
Responding to the suspension, Sri Raj wrote in a statement, “My recent protest against the biased and wrongful actions of suspending the Twitter account handle of Rahul Gandhi ji was misconstrued by the party and I was wrongfully suspended from the party even though my actions did not mean any ill-will and were purely intended to bring to light the high-handed actions of Twitter that was merely acting as a puppet of BJP.”
Sri Raj also explained the quail bird was easily available and was a local delicacy. “I have not breached any existing laws nor have I promoted any form of animal cruelty or violence through my protest. I have purchased a legally consumable quail bird from a local market and endorsed the same to be “Twitter Bird” to draw the attention of the public and Twitter authorities about the unlawful act of spending the account of Rahul Gandhi ji,” he said.
“‘The act of cooking the quail bird in oil was a sign of protest and did not incite any violence or intend any animal cruelty, in any manner. A cooked/ fried quail bird is a staple dish in Andhra Pradesh and several other parts of the country as well,” he added in the statement.
Sri Raj also sent a video recording to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying he felt “very disappointed and humiliated”. “Kindly see the full video. If you feel that I am at fault, then I will welcome the decision.”
Twitter had suspended Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s official handle for sharing a picture of the family of the nine-year-old girl in Delhi, who was raped and murdered. The official accounts of the party and several Congress leaders were also blocked for sharing the photos, which led to criticisms on social media. The company, which later restored the account, had said the posts were in violation of the company policies and Indian laws.