Startup India apologises after retweets of hate messages
Startup India, the official Twitter handle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project, has apologised to its 39,000 followers after what it called "unwarranted and irrelevant retweets" led to a major controversy.
On Tuesday, the handle - which usually tweets start-up news and retweets Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other government officials - retweeted hate messages targeting journalists tagged as anti-national and a participant in a TV debate.
Shocked people shared screen screenshots asking who was handling the official Twitter account of a such a high-profile government of India initiative.
Sitharaman added that the usual practice of getting the tweets approved from the ministry was not followed in this case. Saying that the two “unauthorized retweets” were immediately removed, Sitharaman said that the employee hired by the external agency has resigned from his job. “We hope that inadvertent misdeeds of one person outside our department will not undermine the true spirit of Team Startup India,” Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman was congratulated by her followers for the prompt response. Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi and Bharatiya Janata Party’s head of IT cell, Arvind Gupta were among those who commended her for the efforts.
However, the incident did not go unnoticed as screenshots of the retweets started doing rounds on Twitter. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted saying, “So this is what @narendramodi ji wants to start in India by @startupindia, A start up of abuses, violence & hate.”