India may block Twitter over hate pages

The Indian government gives Twitter a 12-hour deadline to remove "inflammatory" material on its site or face being temporarily blocked in the country as it aims to restore control in Assam.

The Indian government has given Twitter a 12-hour deadline to remove hate pages or risk being temporarily blocked in the country.

According to a Times of India report Thursday, the country's information ministry has issued a notice to the microblogging site on Wednesday to remove "inflammatory" material and "morphed" photographs that spread communal hatred.

The deadline was set because Twitter did not respond to the its request on Tuesday to remove 28 pages carrying "inflammatory content with fictitious details" about the outbreaks of riots in the state of Assam. On Monday, the government blocked over 250 sites with similar content .

Reuters reported on Tuesday that thousands of students and workers from India's northeast region fled Mumbai, Bangalore, and other cities last week fearing retaliation for violence against Muslims in Assam after threatening mobile phone text messages and Web site images sowed unrest.

However, Twitter did respond to a separate complaint by India's Prime Minister Office over fake accounts on Wednesday, said the report. The U.S. company said it would cooperate in removing "unlawful" content and Twitter accounts.

The news site noted that Indian government agencies have been exploring various legal and technical ways to manage access to Twitter within the country before the most recent incident of unrest caused by the microblogging site. One unnamed official said it could follow U.S.'s lead in having the operator site its server in India, it noted.