Tripathi is a senior journalist and chairperson of the PEN International’s Writers in Prison committee
Writers, journalists, and activists slammed Twitter for suspending writer Salil Tripathi’s account on Sunday, with many, including Salman Rushdie, Nilanjana Roy, Amitav Ghosh, and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor describing it an “outrageous act of censorship” and publicly calling out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
The account of Tripathi, a senior journalist and chairperson of the PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, was suspended Sunday after he posted a video of a reading of one of his poems, written in 2009, about the Babri Masjid demolition on 6 December, 1992.
Sunday was the 28th anniversary of the demolition.
As per The Print, the poem was also “about 1947, 2002, and a call from his mother.”
Soon after Tripathi’s account was suspended for the tweet flagged as “offensive”, several prominent writers flayed Twitter for the action against “one of India’s most important human rights activists”.
Rushdie, calling the action “outrageous”, demanded the restoration of Tripathi’s Twitter account.
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) December 6, 2020
Ghosh, tagging the PEN International’s official account, called Tripathi an “outstanding journalist, writer, and human rights activist”.
Beyond astonished to learn that Salil Tripathi’s @Twitter account (@saliltripathi) has been suspended. Salil is an outstanding journalist, writer and human rights activist. He is also the chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. @pen_int @ayadakhtar
— Amitav Ghosh (@GhoshAmitav) December 6, 2020
Congress leaders Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh slammed Twitter and questioned whether the company was “trying to earn brownie points” from the government.
I can’t believe this. How on earth could @Twitter suspend the account of a highly respected writer, author & human rights activist? Do their algorithms have no human being applying common sense before undertaking such actions? #SalilTripathi pic.twitter.com/nVZLvvZzi3
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 7, 2020
Is Twitter trying to earn brownie points by suspending Salil Tripathi’s account after incurring the wrath of the ruling establishment? https://t.co/RuZ3uz5iOn
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) December 7, 2020
Other authors and journalists were also vocal in their support for Tripathi and demanded immediate action from Twitter:
Why has @saliltripathi‘s Twitter account been suspended?
— Nilanjana Roy (@nilanjanaroy) December 6, 2020
Salil Tripathi and I both Gujju, both ex Bombay wallahs, both ex-Amnesty wallahs, both had column in same paper (Mint Lounge), both called for same litfest in Pakistan, both suspended by Twitter.
— Aakar Patel (@Aakar__Patel) December 7, 2020
Nothing on Salil Tripathi handle would justify blocking it. If twitter has any interest in restoring civility, it should stop allowing anonymity & bots. Both are used to spread lies & hatred. Of course, twitter wont do it, because that’s the revenue model
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) December 7, 2020
Seems more than hypocritical of @Twitter to be tagging misinformation/ hate speech ridden tweets on one hand in the US, but shutting down voices like @saliltripathi who call out precisely that in other parts of the world, on the other. Come on. @jack https://t.co/LEWCx83I54
— Maya Mirchandani (@maya206) December 7, 2020
I just spoke to my friend @saliltripathi, a wonderful journalist & writer. His account was suspended by @Twitter without explanation, but after several Hindu nationalist Twitter accounts complained about his tweets and work. Twitter should explain itself & activate his account.
— Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) December 6, 2020
Salil Tripathi is one of our most important human rights activists. Absolutely unacceptable for @TwitterIndia to suspend his account. India need’s Salil’s voice!
— Suketu Mehta (@suketumehta) December 6, 2020
I’m horrified that my friend @saliltripathi has been banned from Twitter. I cannot think of someone more humane, gentle & wise.
It seems his reading out the superb poem below might have been the trigger.
I can only hope this is an algorithmic mistake, & will be corrected soon. https://t.co/NAU8OyDuW1
— Amit Varma (@amitvarma) December 7, 2020
— Nakul Shenoy (@NakulShenoy) December 7, 2020
This is ridiculous, Salil Tripathi’s account has gotten suspended.
— Hussain Haidry (@hussainhaidry) December 6, 2020
— Deepak Shenoy (@deepakshenoy) December 6, 2020
This is odd — is @saliltripathi ’s account suspended?
— Suchitra Vijayan (@suchitrav) December 6, 2020
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