The activist had been tagging the official Twitter handle of the Rachakonda police as part of a protest, but was blocked, then unblocked. The police however say they never blocked him in the first place.

Hyderabad activist claims police blocked him on Twitter police deny
news Social Media Friday, October 12, 2018 - 20:14

When a Hyderabad-based activist launched a Twitter campaign demanding the Rachakonda police to take action against educational institutions withholding student certificates in the city, the police blocked him on Twitter. The anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal’s called the move by the police a violation of his constitutional rights. However, Rachakonda police denied blocking the activist in the first place.

However, this as not the first time the police has blocked the activist on Twitter. Earlier, the Hyderabad City Police had blocked and then unblocked Vijay’s twitter account.

Vijay, an anti-corruption activist and president of Forum Against Corruption, has been instrumental in the enforcement of the free parking Government Order in the city.

For the past few weeks, Vijay had been tagging the official Twitter handle of the Rachakonda police as part of his social media campaign to force action against Anurag College of Engineering, Ghatkesar. Vijay alleges that the college has been withholding original certificates of students. On October 2, the activist had alleged that the Rachakonda police was not filing an FIR against the institution because it is owned by an MLC from the TRS party. A few days later, he started an awareness campaign against the “education mafia” in the city, where he had again tagged the Rachakonda police twitter handle. He found himself blocked by the police on October 10.

The Rachakonda public relations team on Friday claimed they were unaware of Vijay’s twitter account being blocked. When the Rachakonda Police Commissioner, Mahesh M Bhagwat was asked why Vijay was blocked by the police on Twitter, he replied, "This is not true, just check it again."  

“The police personnel handling the social media handles must be trained on the laws that such an act of blocking people who are questioning them is illegal,” said Vijay to TNM, “The police attitude is that they wanted to use social media for their publicity and not for the public to complain on their social media accounts. If they do not want to be open enough to take criticisms then they should not be on social media. There are other ways of achieving publicity to the gimmicks they do. If they are in social media, citizens will complain,” he added.

"I really doubt if there is a precedence to this in India, will be interesting to see how the court reacts to if a citizen can be blocked on social media by official government twitter handles for expressing his views, " said Arjuni KB,a High Court lawyer and partner with SNA, a lawyering firm based out of Hyderabad, "The way I see it, blocking a person on twitter is equivalent to the police blocking a citizen from accessing a telephone to make a complaint," he added. 
 
Earlier this year in the US, US President Donald Trump was forced to unblock his critics and journalists on Twitter as a Supreme Court Judge found the practice a violation of Freedom of Speech and Expression.
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