India asks Wikipedia to delete map that shows Aksai Chin in China

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NEW DELHI: The Indian government has asked Wikipedia to take down a map that shows Aksai Chin as a part of China, issuing a strongly-worded letter to the United States-based nonprofit, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Wikipedia is one of the most popular repositories of information online, and works on a volunteer-based model to compile the information, distinct from social media platforms that have recently been pulled up over similar issues.

The contentious Wikipedia page, which links the incorrect map, is on Bhutan-India relations and talks about the ties between the two countries.

The secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology Ajay Sawhney issued the order to Wikipedia on November 27. A senior government official said he had invoked section 69A of the Information Technology Act that empowers the government to order intermediaries to block public access of any information.

“The secretary further adds that it violates the territorial integrity of the country, and it is well within the power of the ministry under section 69A to order it to be taken down,” said one of the officials, asking not to be named.

“The secretary has satisfied himself that the map has been wrongly depicted,” this person said. In the order, this person added, the secretary states that the content posted on the website is done with the intent to “defame” the country and has the “potential to disturb the sovereignty and harmony of the nation”.

HT wrote to Wikimedia Foundation on its press contact email but did not receive a response sofar. This, however, is not the first time the government has taken up the misrepresentation of the map of India this year. In September this year, the government served Twitter with a notice over a similar map issue — the geotag for Leh showed it as a part of China. The government had asked Twitter to provide an explanation on why action should not be taken against the micro-blogging website. Twitter has since resolved the issue.