A Hindu hardline organisation has filed a police complaint against Twitter’s (TWTR.N) country head after politically sensitive parts of India were portrayed outside of a map of India on its website, launching an enquiry in a new problem for the U.S. internet giant.
A map on Twitter’s careers website depicted the Jammu and Kashmir area, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan, as well as the Buddhist enclave of Ladakh, which is located outside of India. This sparked an outrage on social media this week, which comes amid strife.
ained relations between Twitter and New Delhi over the firm’s compliance with India’s new IT rules.
The complaint accuses Twitter’s India boss Manish Maheshwari and another company executive of breaching the country’s IT rules as well as laws designed to prevent enmity and hatred between classes.
“This has hurt my sentiments and those of the people of India,” Praveen Bhati, a leader of the group Bajrang Dal in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said in the complaint which was reviewed by Reuters. He also called it an act of treason.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. As of Tuesday, the map was no long visible on its site.
Maheshwari was only this month summoned by police in Uttar Pradesh for failing to stop the spread of a video that allegedly incited religious discord. Maheshwari has won relief from a court in that case.
India’s technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has criticised Twitter for its failure to abide by new Indian rules and for denying him access to his Twitter account.
To comply with rules that came into effect in May, companies such as Twitter must appoint a chief compliance officer, a grievance officer and another executive who will liaise with law enforcement and the government on legal requests. LinkedIn job postings show the three positions are open at Twitter.
A senior government official has previously told Reuters that Twitter may no longer be eligible to seek liability exemptions as an intermediary or the host of user content in India due to its failure to comply with the new IT rules. Activists say, however, it is a matter for the courts to decide.
Last year, the head of an Indian parliamentary panel accused Twitter of disrespecting New Delhi’s sovereignty, after mapping data showed Indian-ruled territory as part of China in what the social media firm said was a quickly resolved mistake.
Growing tension with New Delhi has discouraged U.S. big tech firms about prospects for their largest growth market, so much so that some are rethinking expansion plans.