Videos of U.P. slap incident taken down on X in India

The video shows a teacher egging on students as they slap a Muslim classmate.

August 26, 2023 08:08 pm | Updated 11:20 pm IST - New Delhi

The Union government moved to block online, the viral video of a Muslim child being attacked by his classmates, in Uttar Pradesh’s Mansurpur village. The Hindu on Friday identified at least three posts on X (formerly Twitter), that have been taken down in India; the posts remain available for X users in other countries. One posting of the video has over 900,000 views, with other posts having tens of thousands of views each.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) did not respond to a query on the censorship, and neither did an official who is charged with issuing takedown orders to social media platforms under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. X told users whose posts were deleted that their posts would no longer be visible in India and that they could appeal the action with the Ministry. 

This is the second instance this month of videos showing attack on minorities being blocked on social media just as they were going viral. On August 1, the government ordered X to take down footage of Railway Protection Force constable Chetan Singh’s communal speech after he had shot his superior officer and three Muslim passengers dead. 

While X has appealed a Karnataka High Court judgment that largely upheld the government’s sweeping exercise of censorship powers on social media, the Elon Musk-owned platform has been complying with censorship orders more regularly than before, and no longer publishes disclosures of the scale of takedown orders it receives from the government and law enforcement agencies. 

“Gagging the net is not the solution,” Supriya Shrinate, a Congress party spokesperson said on X reacting to the censorship. “Introspect on how a teacher is so vile and full of bigotry that she singles out a boy for his religion and gets his own classmates to slap him.” 

In July, social media platforms were also told to remove a viral clip of two women being paraded naked after being sexually assaulted in Manipur. 

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