Salman Rushdie has confronted the well-known Indian parody Twitter account @RushdieExplains, asking it to adopt another Twitter handle.
“The joke has worn thin. I’m tired of having your opinions ascribed to me. Pls tweet under your own name. Thanks”, the author tweeted to the account.
The owner immediately changed his handle to @IndiaExplained and the issue was resolved amicably.
But some Indians online have accused Sir Salman of quashing free expression.
The parody account @RushdieExplains was popular with Indian Twitter users, attracting more than 30,000 followers. It adopted a “faux Rushdie persona” and engaged in debates with right-wing Indian Twitter accounts.
“It gave me a chance to pay homage to Rushdie and other writers while being able to reflect and comment on things that matter to me”, the owner of the account, Rohit Chopra told Indian news website Scroll.in.
But many Indians online have taken exception to Sir Salman’s stance, accusing him of both lacking a sense of humour and clamping down on freedom of expression.
With its new name, the account has promised to provide “satirical and political commentary on India”.
It is just one among a number of Indian parody Twitter accounts which have courted controversy with those tried to send up.
In one instance, the office of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Twitter to block the account of @PM0India (which used a zero instead of a ‘O’) because of “objectionable content”, which “could be mistaken as the official account of the PMO and have serious ramifications.”