Union minister Smriti Irani, in a reply to TMC MP Derek O'Brien's allegations about Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoning Twitter trolls by following them, criticised the MP and requested that the names mentioned by him be expunged from the Parliament's records.
Irani said that since the names mentioned by O'Brien were of citizens, who had the right to free speech, and did not enjoy the privileges of the house. NDTV quoted her as saying, "As the convention of this house, I am beseeching you, kindly expunge the name of an individual as you've done on many occasions so the individual who cannot defend himself do so."
On Thursday, O'Brien had alleged in Parliament that the Narendra Modi government "attacks its own citizens who hold divergent views". Slamming PM Modi's Digital India project, O'Brien had called it "Divisive India".
O'Brien further alleged that by following handles of people who give out "rape and communal threats", the government is making hate mainstream.
"Twenty-six Twitter handles that give out rape threats, communal threats are followed by the Prime Minister of India. Two of these Twitter handles have now been suspended by Twitter," he said.
Naming the handles, he asked the house, "Where are we headed?"
O'Brien further alleged that these handles were paid handles. "These people are invited to the prime minister's house for a nice digital, social media party."
O'Brien also brought up the incident where Bollywood actor Aamir Khan lost his contract with Snapdeal when he spoke about intolerance in the country.
"We are mainstreaming hate. Today, within a matter of minutes we can create a hashtag," he said and added that the RSS was worse when it came to "this kind of social hate mongering".
The handle @bhak_sala — run under the name of Rahul Raj — one of the 26 handles mentioned by O'Brien, in turn, said on Twitter that after the allegations by the MP, he felt threatened.
According to the NDTV report, Rahul Raj is based out of Bengaluru and runs a website called OpIndia.
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