Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde’s Twitter account appears to have been removed on Friday following its suspensions on Sunday and Monday. A search for his Twitter handle @sanjayuvacha returned no results after initially displaying a message “This account doesn’t exist anymore”.
Speaking to The Quint, Hegde said “I haven't heard anything. I have no notification as yet.”
When asked if the account was removed following his refusal to delete the tweets, Hegde said, “Twitter might have been told you will not restore it, by the government.”
On 27 and 28 October, micro-blogging site Twitter suspended senior Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde’s account citing violation of “rules against posting”, referring to his posts as “hateful imagery”.
Hegde, who is a prominent commentator on Twitter on social issues, found his account suspended on Sunday, 27 October. Speaking to The Quint, he said that the suspension was effected for the cover photo on his account.
“My account was suspended apparently because of my cover picture which I have had for a long time. The cover picture was of August Landmesser at a Nazi rally where Hitler was present. Landmesser refused to the Nazi salute when everybody around him was doing it,” he said.
The suspension created quite a furore on Twitter, with people calling out the social media platform.
Following the outrage, Twitter reinstated Hegde’s account after removing the photo. However, much to the lawyer’s dismay his account got suspended the next day again.
“The next day I woke up I was asked to delete a certain tweet which was a 2017 tweet. A lady called Kavita Krishnan had tweeted a poem by a poet called Gorakh Pandey which dealt with the hanging of peasants. She had also put out the English translation where the poetic refrain was hang him,” Hegde said.
After he refused to delete the tweet and appealed against it, his account got suspended.
Hegde Calls Out ‘Organised Effort’
Soon after the suspension of the account, a number of right-wing groups claimed credit for Twitter’s action. Referring to that, Hegde suggested that the entire episode was a concerted one.
“There is some group called Rashtriya Hindu Ekta Dal or something of that sort which have claimed credit as have several others. There are people on Twitter who are revelling on the fact that they got my account suspended. There are people who are claiming credit. There is a fully organised troll factory and IT Cell which is behind it,” he told The Quint.
Interestingly, in February this year, amid accusations of amplifying misinformation, violating privacy and compromising data of citizens, a parliamentary committee on IT summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey based on a complaint by a collective about Twitter’s alleged left-wing bias. Dorsey, however, snubbed the summon.
‘Social Media Platforms Control Free Speech’
Hegde further indicated that social media platforms might have a biased approach driven by a “revenue model”.
“Twitter does not seem to take the same easy action that it takes against other people, including left-wing accounts. It is possible that there are revenue models also at play. At the end of the day, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google are corporations. Corporations now have not only access to free speech, they control free speech, they influence free speech,” he said.