7th APRIL 2016
GS III: SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY
FB, Twitter, Google asked to set up India servers
The Union Home Ministry had requested Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google to maintain servers in India to help get real time information about accounts, which spread mischievous and incendiary messages.
Almost two months after Home Minister Rajnath Singh waded into the Jawaharlal Nehru University row with terror link claims based on a fake Twitter handle of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed (@HafeezSaeedJUD), Twitter is yet to respond to the government’s request for details of the handle. In February, the Home Ministry asked Twitter India for details of the account.
A senior official said the government was yet to get a reply from the micro-blogging site and unable to ascertain the person running the account. The official said this was one of many cases, in which the government faced problems in getting real time information about such accounts.
Twitter has put up a Transparency Report on removal requests at https://transparency. twitter.com/
Twitter removed 39 accounts on requests from the government and the police in India from July 1 to December 31, 2015.
This and other information is available in the company’s Transparency Report, to which the Twitter spokesperson directed when it sought the company’s response.
The official said these companies had expressed their inability to install servers in India owing to “financial constraints.”
“When we had a meeting with them, they told us that for them to install a server, they would have to register as an Indian company and hire more people. Most of these companies don’t do that,” said the official.
GS II: POLITY-NATIONALISM
NIT flare-up refuses to die, HRD Ministry sends team
Tensions between Kashmiri and outstation students kept the National Institute of Technology in Srinagar on the boil as outstation students — protesting the “celebrations” by some local students of India’s T-20 cricket loss to West Indies on March 3 — refused to cooperate with a team of the Ministry of Human Resource Development that visited the campus .
A day after they were lathi-charged by the police while protesting with placards, the outstation students demanded action against those NIT officials who, they said, had indulged in “anti-national” activities. They insisted that they be allowed to hoist the national tricolour every day before the main gate of the institute.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and HRD Minister Smriti Irani spoke to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is said to have assured them of the safety of outstation students.
Incidentally, during the JNU crisis, Ms. Mufti had sent emissaries to Delhi to ask the Centre to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students.
The flare-up is now emerging as a test for the new government of the PDP and the BJP, allies who are together despite having little in common in their approach to the Kashmir issue.
It also brings the Centre face to face with yet another impasse on “nationalism” after the student unrest in Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Hyderabad.
The roots of the crisis go back to alleged celebrations by Kashmiri students of India’s T20 loss, leading to a confrontation on April 1 with outstation students, who waved the tricolour.
They tried to hoist the tricolour near the institute’s administrative block and also chanted Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Hindustan Zindabad and Pakistan Murdabad.
The administration tried to cool tempers and classes resumed on April 4 amid police and CRPF deployment. But the police action of April 5 shattered the fragile peace.
“HRD officials have reached the campus and will stay there till the exams are over. We are in touch with the students as well as the parents. If the students have any apprehensions regarding their marking or exams, that will be looked into,” said Ms. Irani. Protesting outstation students have been demanding postponement of exams starting April 11, and action against police and NIT officials for their alleged highhandedness and harassment. Several students also demanded shifting of the NIT outside J&K.
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani has also appealed to the local students “to treat outstation students as their guests and avert any harm to them.”
In Jammu, worried parents took out demonstrations against the PDP-BJP government and demanded action against “anti-nationals on the campus.”
Omar takes a dig at CM
Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah said that an HRD team rushing to NIT and the replacement of State police with the CRPF “hinted at the Centre’s lack of confidence in CM Mufti.”