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Can a symbol legitimize the violent past of an extremist organization ?

Twitter recently awarded a blue tick to the twitter account of the Popular Front of India (PFI)
Karnataka chapter. This resulted in a wide range of protests spanning lengths and breadth of the country
with dissenting voices of intellectuals, civil societies, nationalists as well as that of security agencies. Why
this hue and cry over a mere symbol? What is the significance of a blur tick? Since the matter came to
light, those unaware of twitter terminologies are confused over the nature of protest. This unawareness
is being utilized by PFI to justify the decision and play victimization card in the process.
Twitter- a popular social media platform is used by individuals/organizations to occupy the public space
and disseminate their thoughts, ideologies & propaganda. A blue tick associated with any handle (twitter
account) gives a sense of legitimacy to the account. It is termed as ‘verified’ by twitter. This blue tick is
sought after eagerly by Individuals/organizations to gain publicity & increase their number of followers &
in the process, expand their base.

Memories are still afresh of the D J Halli violence that occurred in Bengaluru at the behest of Social
Democratic Party of India (SDPI)- the political wing of PFI. The violence fueled by religious intolerance was
so intense that it destroyed an entire police station with damage to properties amounting to crores. This
raised question on the intentions of PFI and its sister organizations. Ranging from kidnapping to political
killings, PFI is involved not only in terrorist activities across India but also in the middle east including Syria.
Hundreds of its cadres joined ISIS and the cases are under investigation by NIA. PFI is known for instigating
communal disharmony for gaining publicity and cheap political mileage. A recent discovery by Kerala
forest officers in the Padam forest area exposed the involvement of PFI in imparting IED & Bomb making
training to its cadres.

At a time when twitter is engaged in bitter war with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry over
its repeated failures to comply with the newly amended IT Act, its decision to award blue tick to an
extremist organization raises suspicion. The government wants accountability from twitter keeping in
mind the interest of the nation but twitter is hell bent on defying the laws of the land. Freedom is not
absolute especially if it clashes with national security. By providing legitimacy to organizations like PFI,
twitter has proved that new laws are needed to check the activities of social media giants for the sake of
the security of the nation. Coming back to the question if blue tick has the potential to legitimize the
violent past of an extremist organisation, the answer is certainly in negation. After all, years of violence
can’t be negated by a mere sign with a colour.

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