Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lashed out at the UPA government over its move to monitor content in cyber space, dubbing it as an attempt to "snatch" the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution.
"Babasaheb Ambedkar enshrined freedom of expression in the Constitution and on his nirvan diwas (death anniversary on December 6), UPA seeks to snatch it! People are best judge," Modi tweeted a day after Union telecom minister Kapil Sibal vowed to stop offensive and defamatory content on internet sites.
Sibal on Tuesday said if the social networking sites were not willing to cooperate with the government on stopping incendiary material then it was the duty of the government to think of the steps that needed to be initiated.
He had, however, maintained that the government does not want to interfere with the freedom of the press.
The announcement came against the backdrop of the government's meetings with officials from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo over last few weeks after offensive material, particularly against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was put on the internet.
Even as Sibal defended the government's move, criticism poured in the cyber space that India should not emulate countries like China in attempting to gag freedom of expression.