New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): On the request of Twitter, Secretary to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India held a virtual interaction with Twitter officials on Wednesday and expressed strong displeasure on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove this hashtag ‘farmer genocide’.
In a conversation with Vice President Global Public Policy Monique Meche and Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal Jim Baker, Secretary reminded Twitter that in India,” its Constitution and laws are supreme”, and it is expected that “responsible entities not only reaffirm but remain committed to compliance to the law of land.”
“In view of the order issued by the Government of India directing Twitter to remove Tweets and accounts using hashtags related to ‘farmer genocide’ and accounts supported by Khalistan sympathizers and backed by Pakistan and blog post issued by Twitter today morning, this meeting took place as per schedule,” an official release said.
Secretary told the Twitter representatives that India values freedom and criticism because it is part of our democracy.
“India has a robust mechanism for protection of freedom of speech and expression that is very elaborately explained as Fundamental Rights under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution of India. But freedom of expression is not absolute and it is subject to reasonable restrictions as mentioned in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India. Various judgments of the Supreme Court have also upheld this from time to time,” the Secretary said.
He further highlighted that Twitter is welcome to do business in India, and “due to India’s conducive business environment, open internet and a firm commitment to the freedom of expression” Twitter was able to grow significantly in India in the last few years.
“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 that are enacted by the Parliament of India must be followed irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines,” the Secretary added.
He took up the issue of using a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ with Twitter executives and expressed strong displeasure on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove this hashtag and content related to that.
“Spreading misinformation using an incendiary and baseless hashtag referring to ‘farmer genocide’ at a time when such irresponsible content can provoke and inflame the situation is neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression as envisaged under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Despite the attention of Twitter being drawn to such content by the Government through a lawful process, the platform allowed the content with this hashtag to continue, which was extremely unfortunate,” he stated.
Secretary reminded Twitter about the action taken by the microblogging site during the Capitol Hill episode in the USA and compared that with the disturbance in Red Fort in India and its aftermath.
He expressed dissatisfaction over Twitter’s differential treatment in the two incidents and “a deep sense of disappointment at seeing Twitter side not with ‘freedom of expression’ but rather with those who seek to abuse such freedom and provoke disturbance to public order, was conveyed to the Twitter representative,” the release said.
The Secretary also mentioned that revelations around a certain “Toolkit” that have made it evident that a strong social media campaign was planned in a foreign country around farmers’ protest. “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,” he stated.
Secretary expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about the manner in which Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order, and said “Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless.”
The government conveyed to the Twitter leadership that the manner in which “Twitter officially allows fake, unverified, anonymous and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform, raises doubts about its commitment to transparency and healthy conversation on this platform.”
The release said that Twitter leadership affirmed their commitment towards following Indian laws and rules, and expressed their continuing commitment towards building their services in India.
“They have also requested for better engagement between Government of India and Twitter’s global team,” it added. (ANI)
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Women officers in Indian army– source of inspiration to many
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The women officers in the Indian Army, who continue to serve the nation in various roles, are passionate about motivating young girls to join the Armed forces.
The women officers who maintain a balance between personal and professional life, are the perfect example of Women’s empowerment. They are also a source of inspiration for many who want to join the forces.
While speaking to ANI, many of the women officers who are in the major rank of the Army, feel that they will be certainly deployed in combat roles in the future. They said that there is no gender discrimination in the environment and conduct of the Army.
A major in the Indian Army is responsible for various strategic roles. The major commands and directs a military unit and every soldier in his/her unit follow his/her order.
Indian Army’s Major Euthica, who hails from Patna, said that she was motivated to join the forces from a serial called ‘Aarohan’ where actor Pallavi Joshi had played the role of the naval cadet. She has been in the service for 13.5 years.
“I decided to join the forces when I was in class 6. I had a passion to be in uniform. I am here now, it gives me much more push to myself to perform better and prove myself better every day from the previous day. I have put 13.5 years in the service. I have been posted in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency affected areas of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. I am presently posted in the Ladakh region. It has been a great journey, challenges have been there, but it also gives confidence,” she said.
“It would take time to be in combat roles for women officers. The way this organization has been accepting us in all facets, gradually all opportunities will be opened. I am sure we are going to go ahead in all roles. The moment women will be allowed in combat roles, I look forward to all the opportunities where women will be there at par with males,” she added.
Major Anjali Prasad said that the environment of the Indian Army is always women-friendly and it has given equal opportunities to women to perform at par with men.
“I have been posted to various terrains. There is no gender discrimination when it comes to operational things. I have also been utilised as an architect in the army and also in other roles. It gives me satisfaction that being in this role, you can inspire the younger generation. We are empowered in the Army. We have been accepted in all roles,” she said.
Major Suchitra Chellappan said that she has been serving the nation being in the Indian Army uniform for the past 15 years.
“The challenges that emerge in our work acts as motivation. Army facilitates your requirement both professionally and in personal life too. We did not feel any regret,” she said.
When asked how long will it take to see women in the combat roles, Chellappan said, “Don’t think operation part happens at war front only. Lady officers are also posted in high-altitude and other difficult areas including Naxalite areas.”
In February, Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Naik told Rajya Sabha that a total of 9,118 women are serving as officers in the three defence forces while the approval has been granted for inducting 1,700 females as jawans in the corps of military police.
In addition to the provision of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps, the Government of India has recently announced a grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in all other Arms/ Services in which they are eligible for commission. Further, the Government has sanctioned 1,700 women in the Military Police Corps in a phased manner.
The Indian Air Force undertakes various induction publicity measures to encourage youth including women to join IAF. Modules like direct contact programme, print and electronic media are extensively used to create awareness about IAF and educate students about the various mode of entries.
Women are employed as officers in the Indian Navy since 1992 wherein only three avenues were available to Women viz. Law, Education and Logistics. However, over a period of time, the number of other avenues has been opened for women induction. (ANI)
India registers 18,327 new COVID-19 cases, 108 deaths in last 24 hours
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): As many as 18,327 new COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the union health ministry informed on Saturday.
The country’s overall COVID-19 cases tally has reached 1,11,92,088, including 1,80,304 active cases while the death toll has mounted to 1,57,656.
A total of 22,06,92,677 samples have been tested for COVID-19 up to March 5, 2021, of these, 7,51,935 samples were tested on Friday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
According to the health ministry, a total of 1,94,97,704 people have been vaccinated against coronavirus so far.
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1. (ANI)
PM Modi arrives in Ahmedabad to address Combined Commanders’ Conference in Kevadia today
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Ahmedabad for a day-long visit to the state to address the valedictory session of the Combined Commanders’ Conference at Kevadia on Saturday.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Governor Acharya Devvrat and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel received PM Modi at Ahmedabad airport.
During Combined Commanders’ Conference event, Prime Minister is expected to give directions to the defence forces for being prepared for the challenges in the near and distant future, sources said.
The Commanders’ Conference is attended by the Commander-in-Chief rank officers of the three services and the tri-services organisations such as the Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters, Strategic Forces Command and the Port Blair-based Andaman and Nicobar Command.
During the event, presentations are expected to be given to the Prime Minister regarding the progress made in the field of the creation of theatre commands. As per plans, the Defence Ministry would be creating the Air Defence Command as the first step towards restructuring of defence forces in the country.
The Prime Minister is also expected to be briefed on the restructuring of the Army formations in view of the recent Chinese aggression in the Ladakh sector. He may also be briefed on the progress made by the different agencies created for catering to warfare in cyber and space domains. (ANI)
Goa SEC submitted annual report on elections to Governor
Panaji (Goa) [India], March 6 (ANI): Goa State Election Commissioner C R Garg, IAS presented the report published by the Commission on elections to the local bodies conducted during the year 2020 to Governor of Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
According to the official release, the Governor appreciated the efforts made by the commission to present the complete details right from the notification of the election programme up to the counting of votes and declaration of results and also for conducting Zilla Panchayat elections 2020 in a free, fair, transparent and hygienic manner, especially during Covid-19 Pandemic.
Melvyn Vaz, Secretary and Sagar Gurav, Assistant Director (IT) of the Commission were present on the occasion. (ANI)
Six BJP workers injured in bombing incident in West Bengal
South 24 Parganas (West Bengal) [India], March 6 (ANI): Six Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were seriously injured in an alleged crude bomb blast in Rampur village of South 24 Parganas district late Friday night.
The injured were brought to Canning Subdivision Hospital for treatment. The injured BJP workers alleged that the bomb was hurled at them by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers when they were returning from a wedding.
The police has started an investigation into the incident.
Incidents of political violence have been regularly making headlines in poll-bound West Bengal.
The elections for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal will begin on March 27. The state is going to witness eight-phase Assembly polls this year. (ANI)
J-K Sports Council organises Kabaddi match in Srinagar to promote sports enthusiasts
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 6 (ANI): In an effort to encourage Kabaddi players from far-flung areas of the valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council in collaboration with the Kabaddi Association of J-K organized special Kabaddi matches at Indoor Sports Hall Srinagar on Friday.
With multiple new facilities being added in the winter sports category, the sports authorities said that a good number of sports enthusiasts are taking part in activities after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are now getting this indoor house facility. Otherwise, where would our players go in this minus temperature situation? We keep organizing events like this so that the players can excel in sports and help them,” Nusrat Gazala, Divisional Sports Officer, J-K Sports Council told ANI.
Sheikh Jahangir, a Kabadi trainer said, ” Games like this attract a lot of players and have a lot of benefits. They are getting all the required facilities here and it has been going smoothly.”
Kabaddi is played by two teams with twelve players each. The team attempts to score points to win the match by both attacking and defending.
Kabaddi player Faizan Shafi hopes to get sponsorship for tournaments in the coming days.
“Kabaddi is an indigenous game of our country. Earlier, we used to move out of state for training but now we are getting the infrastructure here. We want to get sponsorship for tournaments in the days to come,” he said.
Dhanial Shafi, another player said the matches are attracting young players in the valley.
“Earlier, there was no nomination for this game (Kabaddi) but it is now being promoted because of this ongoing league. Many young players are watching this and attracted towards it which will help them in the future,” he said. (ANI)
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