In an extraordinary development, the Election Commission has succeeded in bullying Twitter India to block a video of suspicious activities involving EVMs. This was after a journalist, who shared a video of suspicious movement of EVMs in Lucknow on the day of the polling, said that Twitter India had blocked his video.
Anurag Dhanda had shared a video on 6 May, the day India voted in the fourth phase of the parliamentary polls, showing a van full of EVMs running on a Lucknow road. The journalist had expressed his shock over the transportation of so many EVMs even before the polling could come to an end and how the van in question was allowed to run without any security.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking election from Lucknow.
Days later, the journalist took to social media to inform that Twitter India had restricted the visibility of his video to Indian audience since the Election Commission felt that Dhanda’s content could influence the outcome of the polls. In its complaint to Twitter, the ECI wrote, “The Commission finds the tweets mentioned in the Annexure as highly objectionable and directs Twitter to take down at the earliest. The said tweets violate Section 171C of action and intimate the Commission on the status of the action taken, at the earliest.”
If this was not enough to intimidate Twitter, the EC wrote that ‘This issues with the approval of the competent authority.’
Janta Ka Reporter had used Dhanda’s original tweet in its report published on 6 May. While the video is still visible on Janta Ka Reporter’s website, the video doesn’t open when one clicks on the Twitter Link. Instead a message from Twitter says, “This tweet from @anuragdhanda has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand.”
Instead of coming clean on the suspicious movement of so many EVMs, the national poll body has chosen to use its power to bully a social media platform. This may hardly instill confidence among voters as far as credibility of the voting machines is concerned.