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Surrey-based artist and Punjabi bhangra star Jazzy B has over 1.2 million Twitter followers, but no one in India will see his content at this time.
The artist, whose real name is Jaswinder Singh Baines, was notified this weekend that his account was blocked in a South Asian country for allegedly violating India’s Information Technology Law.
An email from Twitter says the request came at the direction of the Indian government.
Baines told Global News that he believes he is being censored for using social media to support Farmers protest controversial new agricultural laws and talk about the 1984 Sikh massacre.
“This is freedom of speech. I defended the farmers, what happened, the 1984 Sikh genocide. I’ve always talked about it, talked about it loudly, ”he said.
“I haven’t written anything bad. This is the story of what is happening now and what happened 37 years ago. “
Jazzy B Continues Supporting Indian Farmers Despite Twitter Blocking
Baines, 46, was born in India and moved to Canada as a child, where he began his musical career.
He said he still feels a deep connection with India and the farmers who have been peacefully protesting for over six months.
“Many people are trying to say that we are against India. We are not against India, ”Baines said.
“I love India, I was born there. This is my country. People try to divide and rule, but it won’t work. “
In a statement, a Twitter spokesman said the company is reviewing valid legal requests in accordance with its own rules and local laws.
“If content violates Twitter’s policies, it will be removed from the service. If it is determined that it is illegal in a certain jurisdiction, but does not violate the Twitter rules, we can deny access to content only in India, ”said the spokesman.
“In all cases, we will directly notify the account holder so that they know that we have received a legal order related to the account.”
Shadow Ban and Censorship Claims of Indian Farmers Protest Online
The move is prompted by growing discord between India and social media companies over accounts and messages that the country’s government wants to remove, including those criticizing farming laws and the government’s response to COVID-19.
Baines’ Twitter account remains accessible to social media users outside of India. He said that his lawyer tried to contact Twitter, but has still not received a response.
But he said that the ban in India would not stop him from talking about things.
“Everyone has the right to express their opinion on social networks,” he said.
“You cannot silence me. You can block my Twitter, my social networks. I will always talk about it, and I will always stand with my people, my community. No matter what kind of community it is, what race, if something goes wrong here, I will raise my voice. “
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