Anchor Tweets on Using Real Bullets on J&K Protesters, LSTV Yet to Act
Twitter suspends Jagrati Shukla’s account; channel officials say they are ‘looking into issue’ but add there is no policy for employees’ social media behaviour
New Delhi: Twitter has suspended LokSabhaTVanchorJagratiShukla’s account for her controversial tweets on Thursday wishing “real bullets insteadof pellets”forKashmiricivilians with pellet gun injuries, but her employer has not initiated any action against her.
Senior officials at the channel said it’s investigating the matter. One of themtold ET thatShukla’sviewswere “personal in nature”.
Thechannel’sCEOAshishJoshisaid he will look into the issue once it is officially raised.
“We will take action if required,” he said. “That apart, we have asked all our employees to put up their most responsible behaviour on social media.”
A Lok Sabha TV official said service rules of its employees don’t apply to their social media behaviour and the absence of a criminal complaint also makesitdifficulttoremoveemployees who fault on social media. The channel is operated by Lok Sabha Secretariat under the patronage of speaker Sumitra Mahajan. It’s owned by Parliament of India.
Lok Sabha Secretariat officials Kalpana Sharma and Ganpati Bhat, who handle affairs of LSTV as per its website, declined comment, saying they were unaware of the issue.
Shukla, an assistant producer at the
PARL OWNS CHANNEL
channel,hadonWednesdayretweeted photos of civilians from Kashmir valley, saying she “preferred real bullets instead of pellets”.
While Twitter suspended her account hours after her tweet kicked up astorm,thesocialmediaplatformwas soon filled with her controversial tweets on the Sikh genocide to former Indian vice president Hamid Ansari whom she had once called “a sophisticated Jihad apologist”.
When contacted, Shukla said she stood by her tweet and that the suspension of her Twitter account “was a result of mass reporting by a politically motivated group”.
“MyrecentTweetwasprettyinnocuousanddidn’tcontainanyreferenceto a specific community. We lose soldiers and tourists to these murderous mobs all the times; why aren’t we talking about their human rights and right to self-defence?” she told ET. “The hashtag in my support has crossed120kTweetsandtrendedatNo. 1 all over India on Twitter for over 16 hours. It’s not a paid trend and I’m not a politician, so the quantum of support I’ve received is testimony to what the public opinion is,” Shukla said.
A senior LSTV official said the channel had asked Shukla to give clarification after it received a complaint about her tweet on Sikh genocide. “Some other complaints that came to us were from a time she was not employed by us,” the person said. “We have employed her only after proper police verification processes.”
Many people, however, questioned the parliamentary channel’s decision to hire Shukla in May this year when her “bigoted thoughts” were already clear.
My recent tweet was pretty innocuous & didn’t contain any reference to a specific community. We lose soldiers and tourists to these murderous mobs all the times; why aren’t we talking about their human rights and right to self-defence: Shukla