Canadian-Punjabi singer Jazzy B’s Twitter account and three others have been blocked at the Indian government’s request.
Jazzy B has frequently tweeted in support of farmers protesting the government’s agriculture laws in India.
The accounts were blocked – they have been ‘geo-restricted, meaning they can still be accessed from IP addresses outside the country – after a legal demand from the government on Sunday.
“When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter’s rules the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only,” Twitter said in its statement.
“In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so they’re aware that we’ve received a legal order pertaining to the account. We notify the user(s) by sending a message to the email address associated with the account(s), if available,” the statement added.
Jaswinder Singh Bains, known internationally as bhangra star Jazzy B, said that he was shocked when messages began coming in over the weekend from fans who couldn’t see his Twitter account in India.
The popular Punjabi singer revealed that he has received an email from Twitter confirming that he’d been blocked from his home country for allegedly violating India’s Information Technology Act. He said the email offered no details about why he was censored.
“I was really shocked. I had no idea — It’s a shameful thing to do … everybody has the right to speak their mind,” said the Punjabi Rapper.
Bains, who grew up in Surrey, B.C., after coming to Canada as a child, said that he is convinced the social media shutdown is in response to his outspoken support of Indian farmers who have spent the past six months protesting controversial new agricultural laws in India.
He added that he feels a connection to them and spent 25 days living among protesting farmers, some in their 70s or 80s, in November and December to “feel their pain.”