In a strange irony, the Twitter account of none other than Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Milind Deora was suspended by the micro-blogging site. But at the same time a fake account similar to Deora's name remained active.
The followers of Deora on Twitter were in for a surprise when they found a search for his name showed "No people results for Milind Deora". Deora's tweets gave the government's version on the crackdown on the micro-blogging site and other social networking websites. Deora in his tweet last night had defended government's efforts to block hate content on the internet.
"Ironically, let me clarify on Twitter that there is absolutely no intent of the government to curb freedom of social media platforms," Deora's tweet read amid claims that the government was infringing on users' freedom of speech on social media sites.
"Account suspended. The profile you are trying to view has been suspended...," was the automated message that was seen on the Twitter.
When his comments were sought today, Deora replied through SMS that his account had not been blocked but was being verified.
"It's being verified hence temporarily suspended. Not blocked," the Minister replied.
The news of Deora's account suspension spread like wild fire on the micro-blogging site with some making sarcastic comments.
"Communication Minister Milind Deora's Twitter Account "Suspended". It's like the Home Minister losing his house key," read one of the tweets, while another user's tweet read: "Ah! I know what happened. Milind Deora sent Twitter a list of people to banned and signed his name under it".
The government has asked Internet service providers to block select 16 Twitter accounts, including that of some journalists. The government, in the past, has raised concerns about inappropriate content on social networking sites. Internet giants like Facebook and Google have said they are working with the government to remove such content.
Pushed by India, Twitter has removed six micro-blogging accounts which resembled that of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) amid government's assertion that action would be taken against those allowing objectionable content.
In a communication to the PMO, Twitter has said it has "removed the reported profile(s) from circulation due to violation of our Terms of Service regarding impersonation".
This communication has been sent in response to a complaint made two months back by the PMO which had identified the six Twitter accounts and wanted these to be shut as these allegedly had communally-sensitive content and other such objectionable material.
"We had requested Twitter to take appropriate action against 6 persons impersonating the Prime Minister s Office. When they did not reply for a long time, we requested Cyber Security Cell to initiate action," the PMO spokesperson said.