The Twitter handles of the functionaries of the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), including its chief coordinator Seeman, have been withheld in response to a legal demand from the Central government.
The same fate has befallen the handle of May 17 Movement founder and activist Thirumurugan Gandhi.
The May 17 Movement is a Tamil national civil rights movement that started in 2009.
More than 20 Twitter handles of the NTK — including its key functionaries Idumbavanam Karthik, Se Pakiyarasan, and TS Sunandha — and the handle of Thirumurugan Gandhi were blocked on the evening of Wednesday, 31 May.
According to sources, the handles were withheld after the Central government reportedly made an official request to the social media company.
The last tweet by Seeman criticised the BJP for making national-level wrestlers protest in Delhi and also condemned the inaction of the Union government on the issue.
‘Will not stop us’
C Vetrikumaran, the South Zone coordinator of the NTK, told South First that it was ignorance that blocking a Twitter handle would curb the voice of a party.
“There is a world outside Twitter. Only a small percentage of people use social media platforms, and our party is strong in villages and rural areas, where we make our voice heard through other modes of communication and medium,” he said.
Vetrikumaran also said: “Blocking a Twitter handle will not stop us from rendering our support and voices against the injustice and the growth of the party. If anyone thinks like that, we pity them.”
Meanwhile, Seeman created a new Twitter handle — @NTKSeeman4TN.
The IT wing of the NTK said that it would rise on every occasion even if it was brought down to the ground.
Stalin condemns blocking of handles
On Thursday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin condemned the withholding of the Twitter accounts of NTK chief coordinator Seeman and May 17 Movement coordinator Thirumurugan Gandhi.
நாம் தமிழர் கட்சியின் தலைமை ஒருங்கிணைப்பாளர் திரு. சீமான், மே 17 இயக்க ஒருங்கிணைப்பாளர் சகோதரர் திரு. திருமுருகன் காந்தி உள்ளிட்டோரது ட்விட்டர் கணக்குகள் இந்தியாவில் முடக்கப்பட்டிருப்பது கண்டனத்திற்குரியது.
கருத்துகளை கருத்துகளால் எதிர்கொள்வதே அறம். கழுத்தை நெரிப்பது அல்ல.…
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) June 1, 2023
In a tweet supporting, Seeman and Gandhi, Stalin said that opinions should be countered with opinions and that was morality. “Opinions must not be suppressed,” Stalin said.
Seeman thanked the Tamil Nadu chief minister for his support.
Activist blames city commissioner
Meanwhile, whistleblower Savukku Shankar tweeted that Twitter blocked the handles only on the basis of the recommendation of the Chennai City Police.
He also alleged that the city police had sent recommendations to block a few more handles, which included his Twitter account.
— Savukku Shankar (@Veera284) June 1, 2023
Shankar alleged that the Chennai City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal addressed the nodal officer to withhold Seeman’s official Twitter handle in India under Section 79 of the IT Act which empowers the police to arm-twist the intermediary viz. Twitter.
City police issues clarification
Meanwhile, the Chennai City Police issued a clarification stating that no request had been given from them for the blocking of the social media handles of functionaries of the NTK and the May 17 Movement.
The statement also warned of legal action if any news spread connecting them with the withholding of the Twitter accounts of the NTK and others.