Narendra Modi’s Twitter hacked after Syria tweet

Image copyright AFP Image caption Modi’s account was hacked by two accounts after he said India could sign up to the crypto-currency

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account has been hacked into and hackers posted an announcement that India was to adopt Bitcoin.

It said Modi’s “Muslim daughter” and “Muslim son-in-law” would hold cryptocurrencies as well as accept Bitcoin as payment.

The official Twitter account has since been suspended.

Netizens sent congratulatory messages to India as many rallied against Modi’s policy on cryptocurrency, which the government had said was “misleading”.

After the hack, Modi’s account tweeted a Hindi message saying the account would not be restored “for the time being”.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Amit Shah tweeted that Twitter should respond to all news and rumours like Modi’s ISIS tweet

Similar hacks were also made on Modi’s Twitter account a day earlier when he told followers that India would ban Islamic State members.

After that hack, the official account sent another tweet which said: “We will not indulge in giving fodder to the cyber criminals.”

India is one of the few countries that has declared it will ban the digital currency.

Police in both Delhi and Mumbai are expected to investigate the hacks of Modi’s Twitter account.

Responding to the attacks, government minister and president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Amit Shah, tweeted: “Following the attack on the Prime Minister’s account, we demand of Twitter to respond to all the news and rumours, just like the PM did.”

The image used by the hackers was later removed from Modi’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

‘Complex problem’

A ‘Donut’ sticker with Bitcoin symbol has been embedded in the message. Image caption Critics say Indian regulators are ignoring the problems posed by cryptocurrencies

Experts have said the issues with cryptocurrencies are complex and need government intervention.

While Modi’s government’s stance has been clear on banning the cryptocurrency, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earlier this year asked all of its banks and financial institutions to warn their customers against buying cryptocurrencies.

Experts warn that any clampdown on cryptocurrencies could lead to investors losing a large proportion of their money.

Jagjit Singh, professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, told the BBC there is a “conflict of interest” between the RBI and the government.

“On one hand, we are talking about terror financing, even the pyramid schemes,” he said.

“But we don’t know that [Dhaka black money unit] when it comes to cryptocurrencies and we don’t know that when it comes to cryptocurrency transactions.”

He added that the government will have to find a “very, very clear” legal framework for cryptocurrencies.

In February, China shut down local Bitcoin exchanges and banned overseas trading.

A similar crackdown in India is “more or less imminent”, Mr Singh said.

‘That’s wrong’

After Modi’s Syria tweet, some Twitter users condemned the prime minister for his announcement.

He told his followers on Friday that “those talking about ISIS in India have already been identified and blocked” and asked India to “join the fight against terror”.

“The truth is no-one could have anticipated what is going on in that world,” tweeted Hemant Muttreja, chairman of the opposition Congress party.

“This person is not capable of handling even a world half the size of India,” he added.

Mr Muttreja also tweeted that Modi was engaging in “advice and inspiration” rather than ‘governance’.

Commenting on the tweets in which Modi’s Twitter account was hacked, Banaji Dattatray, Twitter’s country manager for India, New Zealand and Australia, tweeted: “The problem with governments, generally, is that they don’t understand the full impact of their rhetoric.

“It can have a negative impact on investment, and an overall sense of confidence.”

Image copyright Twitter Image caption Twitter users say Modi’s ISIS comments were tone deaf

Mr Dattatray’s comments come after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lifted its ban on Chinese firms selling initial public offerings (IPOs) in the US.

The ban was imposed in 2014 after a number of Chinese firms listed on US stock exchanges became embroiled in “initial public offering scams” – where companies made outlandish claims in their prospectuses to raise money.

Some of the firms have ended up being caught up in fraud and stock manipulation schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

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