The Indian government made an emergency order to censor the tweets, Twitter disclosed. The law cited in the order was the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Health workers carry bodies of people who were suffering from Covid-19, outside the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021.
Health workers carry bodies of people who were suffering from Covid-19, outside the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021. (Reuters)

The Indian government has asked social media platform Twitter to take down dozens of tweets, including some by local lawmakers, that were critical of India's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as cases of Covid-19 again hit a world record.

Twitter has withheld some of the tweets after the legal request by the Indian government, a company spokeswoman told on Saturday.

The government made an emergency order to censor the tweets, Twitter disclosed on Lumen database, a Harvard University project.

In the government's legal request, dated April 23 and disclosed on Lumen, 21 tweets were mentioned.

Among them were tweets from a lawmaker named Revnath Reddy, a minister in the state of West Bengal named Moloy Ghatak and a filmmaker named Avinash Das.

 Twitter Rules and local law considered

The law cited in the government's request was the Information Technology Act, 2000.

"When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law," the Twitter spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

"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," she said.


The spokeswoman confirmed that Twitter had notified account holders directly about withholding their content and let them know that it received a legal order pertaining to their tweets.

The development was reported earlier by technology news website TechCrunch, which said that Twitter was not the only platform affected by the order.

Poor healthcare system

Overwhelmed hospitals in India begged for oxygen supplies on Saturday as the country's coronavirus infections have soared in what the Delhi high court called a "tsunami," setting a world record for cases for a third consecutive day.

India is in the grip of a rampaging second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one Covid-19 death in just under every four minutes in Delhi as the capital's underfunded health system buckles.

The number of cases across the country of around 1.3 billion people rose by 349,691, the Health Ministry said on Sunday, for a total of 16.96 million cases. Covid-19 deaths rose by 2,767, to a total of 192,311, according to Sunday's figures.

Health experts said India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and seemed to be under control. 

Authorities lifted restrictions, allowing the resumption of big gatherings, including large religious festivals and political rallies for local elections.

READ MORE: Hospitals turn away patients as Covid-19 'tsunami' hits India

Source: Reuters