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Hindutva Watch Account Withheld by X After Indian Government’s Legal Demand

The independent research project Hindutva Watch had its social media account withheld in India on Tuesday, January 16. This action is said to be in response to a legal demand, according to reports.

Hindutva Watch, founded in 2021 by Kashmiri journalist Raqib Hameed Naik, who relocated to the United States in 2020, monitors and reports on attacks against minorities and marginalized communities by Hindutva groups in India. The website’s content includes videos and news snippets highlighting violence against Muslims and other minority groups in the country.

Naik told Scroll that this would not deter the group from continuing with their work. “This won’t deter us from our work, and we will continue undeterred,” he said.

This incident follows a pattern of social media platforms complying with legal demands from the Indian government. Previously, X, formerly known as Twitter, withheld the accounts of U.S.-based human rights organizations Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights in India, citing legal obligations.

Expressing concern about the situation, a press release from Hindus for Human Rights in October 2023 hinted at a coordinated effort of transnational repression by the Modi government. The release raised the possibility of a broader clampdown on voices critical of Prime Minister Modi in the lead-up to the 2024 elections in India.

IAMC accused Elon Musk, the owner of X, of collaborating with Modi’s government and accused X of hastening the suppression of free expression and democracy. The allegations suggest a growing concern over the influence of tech giants in restricting information flow and curbing dissent.

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