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Amid rising cases, India orders Twitter to pull tweets critical of COVID-19 response

Health workers attend to a young COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on Saturday. Photo by Piyal Adhikary/EPA-EFE
Health workers attend to a young COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on Saturday. Photo by Piyal Adhikary/EPA-EFE

April 26 (UPI) -- India on Monday ordered Twitter to remove posts critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country continues to set case records daily.

The order targets posts against Modi's government and political party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Twitter told NBC News that the posts in question will be blocked only in India, meaning they are still visible outside of the country.

India's electronics and information technology minister called the 100 targeted posts a "misuse of social media platforms by certain users to spread fake or misleading information," according to CNN.

Modi's administration accused those who wrote the posts, which included leaders of opposing political parties, of "using unrelated, old and out-of-the-context images or visuals, communally sensitive posts and misinformation about COVID-19 protocols."

The technology ministry said it gave a similar order to Facebook.

The suppression move comes as India struggles to get a handle on a new wave of COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the country reported more than 350,000 new cases -- its fifth straight day of at least 300,000. It reported 2,800 related deaths.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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