Social Media – A platform to connect with the World or is it curbing the Freedom of Expression?

Yuvraj Pokharna’s Twitter account was suspended after he tweeted some “public notified documents” from the marriage registrar office of Kerala which portrayed cases where Interfaith marriages were happening.

It is said that with the increasing popularity of social media, freedom of expression has increased across the World. It has now become easier to connect with the World on any topic, be it for discussing the environmental issues, the ideologies of various politicians or political parties or something happening in any nook or corner in the World. The World has come closer due to social media platforms.

But there have been instances where these social media platforms have acted as a hindrance in spreading the word and have taken away rights of expression from some individuals. This can be due to their policies or due to the influence-support towards some ideology, and it is totally another topic of discussion.

A similar case has been highlighted recently when a Surat-based activist – Yuvraj Pokharna’s Twitter account was suspended after he tweeted some “public notified documents” from the marriage registrar office of Kerala which portrayed cases where Interfaith marriages where happening in an exact same manner.

Yuvraj Pokharna's tweet
Yuvraj Pokharna’s tweet
Yuvraj Pokharna
Yuvraj Pokharna

This created a ruckus on twitter and soon Yuvraj’s account was suspended without any due warning to him. Yuvraj gained fame internationally in the past when PM Narendra Modi praised him from his official account for projecting facts about -Rafale Deal on his Wedding Card in the year 2019. Our team got to chat with Yuvraj on his recent Twitter account suspension. Excerpts from the conversation,

  • Yuvraj, what was your tweet all about which got your Twitter account suspended? I got hold of some public notified documents and posted them on my twitter account, which is completely legal as per the Special Marriage Act. It was nothing private as the same is published on the Notice Board of the Marriage Registrar’s Office for 30 days. The tweet was on the Inter-Religion marriages that have become more common rather alarming in some parts of our country. This created a ruckus.
  • What was the kind of response you received? People started-tweeting my tweet saying I was spreading communal hatred and leaking private information of interfaith couples and maligning their image openly, but in fact, I just posted the Public Notified Document which I got hold of.
  • So what was your reaction to this? Even before I could react, I saw people tweeting my personal information along with my address in a letter which CM of Gujarat had sent me, sometime in the past. I just could not react to it properly.
  • What was your next action? I could not reply to any of those tweets in time as Twitter blocked my account and within a minute of getting an e-mail of account blocked, I got another e-mail stating my account is permanently suspended. I am still unable to understand Twitter’s policy, as instead of deleting the tweets, which were targeted personally against me, my account was suspended. As per the very rules of Twitter, I was the victim of doxing and instead, they suspended me and not the ones who were harassing me. I wonder if there is some pressure on the microblogging giant – that after sending me an email regarding blocking my account and asking me to delete the concerned tweets (to get my account unblocked), within a minute they foul played and suspended my account instead. I have e-mailed regarding this to the Policy Director of Twitter India -MahimaKaul and PayalKamat of Public Policy Department – Twitter India, to which they haven’t responded yet.
  • So what do you plan to do now? As of now, I am worried for the well-being of my family as my address is still out in the open. I am thinking to proceed legally against the microblogging giant – Twitter India if I do not receive a response from them.
  • Lastly, what was the aim behind posting the so-called ‘public notified documents’ on twitter and from where did you get those documents? I received these documents via WhatsApp, and these were widely circulated across the country and my aim to put up on my Twitter account was to highlight the alarming pattern to my audience and followers. As I wrote on Twitter – संयोग नहीं प्रयोग है