Centre orders X to block footage of RPF shooter Chetan Singh

The footage appears to show Railway Protection Force officer Chetan Singh, who allegedly shot his supervisor and three passengers dead

August 01, 2023 01:05 pm | Updated 05:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Family members of Assistant Sub-Inspector Tika Ram Meena, who along with 3 civilians was shot dead by RPF Constable Chetan Singh onboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express, at Shatabdi Hospital in Mumbai on July 31, 2023.

Family members of Assistant Sub-Inspector Tika Ram Meena, who along with 3 civilians was shot dead by RPF Constable Chetan Singh onboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express, at Shatabdi Hospital in Mumbai on July 31, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday, was ordered to remove footage of Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable Chetan Singh, seemingly recorded by passengers in the Jaipur–Mumbai Central Express after he allegedly shot his superior and three passengers — Sub-Inspector Tika Ram Meena, and Abdul Qadirbhai Mohammed Hussain Bhanpurwala, Akhtar Abbas Ali, and Sadar Mohammed Hussain.

Users posted screenshots of emails notifying them of the video’s takedown within India; the posts remain accessible outside the country.

Although the footage could not be verified by The Hindu, officials have not denied its authenticity. It shows Mr. Singh standing over a blurred-out body lying on the floor of a train compartment in a pool of blood, surrounded by stunned passengers as he goes on a tirade mentioning Pakistan, Indian media, and references Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and “Thackeray”. 

The Union Government ordered X to take down the video within India under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Designated Officer within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for issuing orders under this Section, which authorises blocking of content online “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order…”, did not immediately respond to a query by The Hindu on the order. 

Owaisi censored

The platform was also ordered to take down a post by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi. Mr. Owaisi had quoted and posted the clip, commenting, “This is a terror attack that specifically targeted Muslims. It is the product of continuous anti-Muslim hate speech & unwillingness of @narendramodi to put an end to it.” He added, “Will the accused #RPFJawan become a future BJP candidate? Will his bail be supported by the govt? Will he be garlanded when released?”

Other posts removed include those by independent journalist Rana Ayyub, a fan account of Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP for Krishnanagar Mahua Moitra, Nimo Yadav, a parody account with over 64,000 followers, and co-founder of the Alt News fact-checking portal Mohammed Zubair. 

When a video of two women being paraded naked and sexually harassed went viral in Manipur last month, the Union Home Ministry censored footage of that clip as well, and removed posts that had blurred screenshots concealing the entirety of the victims on YouTube, Instagram and X.

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