The world’s largest democracy is asking Google and 20 other companies to respect a law passed last year and bar offensive material online after a private petitioner decided to sue them over potentially insulting images to Hindus, Christians and Muslims.

Google, YouTube and Blogspot removed some content from India-based websites Monday to adhere to a court directive that cautioned a China-like crackdown, according to Reuters (via The Globe and Mail). Google has not name the blocked websites.

“(Our) review team has looked at the content and disabled this content from the local domains of search, YouTube and Blogger,” said Google spokesperson Paroma Roy Chowdhury to Reuters.

The Indian law passed last year makes Internet companies responsible for user content posted online and allots 36 hours to remove any offensive content…

A New Delhi lower court told Google and the other companies on Monday to show written documents and take affirmative steps to block questionable content. The court granted 15 days to submit reports.

Google already appealed in the Delhi High Court against a criminal case brought by a Hindu private petitioner, according to the Associated Press.  Meanwhile, a Muslim petitioner brought a separate civil case to a lower court against the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine.

“If the companies have actually removed some content, they should put in place a mechanism to do it regularly, instead of waiting for a court case every time,” said Vinay Rai, the Hindu petitioner, to Reuters.

India has a 1.2 billion population and one in 10 of its people are currently online, making it the third-largest Internet-manufacturer after China and the United States.

 

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