In a searing statement, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Thursday told Twitter to "stop beating around the bush and comply with laws of the land". "Law making and policy formulations is sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what should India’s legal policy framework should be," said MeitY.
The Ministry also termed Twitter's concern with regards to the use of "intimidation tactics" by the Delhi Police over manipulated media tags as "baseless, false and an attempt to defame India to hide their follies". "Govt assures that representatives of social media companies including Twitter are and will always remain safe in India and there is no threat to their personal safety and security," it added.
"Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India’s legal system," said MeitY in a release.
This came after Twitter on Thursday called the visit by Delhi Police to its offices a form of "intimidation" and said it was concerned about its employees and the potential threat to freedom of expression.
In its first official statement after the Delhi Police visited the company's offices in Delhi and in Gurugram to serve notice to its country managing director about an investigation into the 'manipulated media' tag, Twitter said it will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency and protecting freedom of expression.
The company said it will "strive" to comply with applicable law in India to keep its service available in the country but will "advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation." "Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve," Twitter said in a statement.
"We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT rules."
The social network reiterated its commitment to India as a vital market, but criticised new IT rules and regulations that it said "inhibit free, open public conversation."
"We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public," it said.
(With PTI inputs)