Outrage over appointment of new Twitter India head

‘The microblogging site could lose its credibility’

January 09, 2014 08:12 pm | Updated May 13, 2016 08:27 am IST - NEW DELHI

The appointment of Kashmiri journalist-turned-online activist Raheel Khursheed as Twitter India’s head has triggered a storm of protest with right wing bloggers demanding his removal on the premise that he was “anti-Modi,” pro-separatist, and a “Hindu-baiter.’’ while others celebrated the choice.

Ironically enough, some right-wing activists have taken to >change.org which bills itself as the world’s largest petition platform of which Mr. Khursheed had been the Director of Communications, India, till he took up the job at Twitter earlier this week. Mr.Khursheed — who in the past has often described himself as an “equal opportunity offender”' — could not be reached.

Amid speculations that the BJP had started this petition, a party functionary told The Hindu on condition of anonymity that the BJP had not formally lodged a complaint with Twitter over his appointment. In the petition – addressed to ``CEO, Chairman, Member of the Board, Twitter Inc (NASDAQ: TWTR),” the petitioners have sought the revocation of the decision to appoint Mr. Khursheed as Head – News, Politics and Government, Twitter India.

Conceding that the petitioners have no business questioning Mr. Khursheed’s professional qualifications, the signatories – which at 7 p.m. on Thursday stood at 2,923 – said ``his political bias and statements in the past makes us believe that he will not be able to discharge his duties in an unbiased manner.” Mr. Khursheed for the past many years has, through his tweets, displayed ``sheer contempt and hate’’ for NDA’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi — “even calling him a mass murderer” – the petition said.

In fact, the petition opens with an embedded tweet of Mr. Khursheed. Retweeting a television quote of former BJP president Nitin Gadkari stating that it was “wrong to call Narendra Modi communal,” Mr. Khursheed tweeted: “He oversaw a Muslim massacre for fun.”

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