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‘Won’t appear for Chinese app against India’: Ex-Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi refuses to represent TikTok in court

Former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi on Wednesday refused to represent TikTok, a popular short video-sharing platform, in court in a case involving the central government’s ban on 59 Chinese apps.

Rohatgi said that he will not appear for TikTok, a Chinese app, in a case against the Government of India.

Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India, refuses to appear for Tik Tok, says he won’t appear for the Chinese app against the Government of India. (file pic)

— ANI (@ANI) July 1, 2020

A day after the central government banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese mobile apps in the country citing security reasons, a statement from TikTok’s India office said that the company was complying with the government orders.

Earlier yesterday, the popular short video-sharing platform had said that it “continued to comply with data privacy and security requirements under the Indian law” and that it had not shared or exported private information about users in India to “any foreign government, including the Chinese government.”

It also said that if it is requested in the future they would not do so as the company stressed, it placed the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.

The statement was signed by TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi.

All 59 apps with Chinese links that were listed by the Centre in its ban order were removed from the online app stores, including TikTok, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Vigo Video as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein and games like Clash of Kings.

These apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order,” the government said in its order.

However, the ban is interim, the government has said and the concerned heads will be given an opportunity to clarify their positions.

The move to ban the apps with Chinese links comes in the backdrop of a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh’s Galwan valley weeks ago, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and reported casualties among.43 Chinese soldiers.

Following the India-China skirmishes in the Galwan valley on June 15, tensions have exacerbated manifold between the two countries with Indian campaigns about boycotting Chinese products gaining rapid popularity in the mainstream.

Although numerous Indian government officials had earlier said that the border tensions will not impact trade between India and China, they have also been urging the citizens to be “vocal about local” and prefer indigenous alternatives to foreign, especially Chinese, brands.

In the following days, the Centre also took action cancelling several contracts with Chinese firms in sectors like railway and telecom, supposedly aimed at preventing Chinese entry into strategic markets in India.

Now, it has culminated into India banning Chinese apps over “raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians”.

This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, the government order explained.

Among the banned apps, TikTok has over 200 million users in India, as it had become especially popular in suburban India launching several people into overnight online fame. They had even carefully curated a community surrounding it and catered to demands relating to personalities. E-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein are also widely popular in India. CamScanner and SHAREit were two other popular utility apps that people widely used for scanning documents and the rapid sharing of files, respectively.