Arun Sudhaman 10 Jan 2014 // 10:15AM GMT
NEW DELHI—Twitter has hired online activist and former journalist Raheel Khursheed to lead its partnerships with India's media and government.
Khursheed, who spent six years as journalist for numerous outlets including CNN-IBN and Times Broadcasting, has been named head of news, politics and government at Twitter India.
Prior to joining Twitter, Khursheed was director of communications for Change.org in India. He also ran a communications consultancy that advised corporate brands and non-profits.
On his website, Khursheed notes that he will "manage, track and expand Twitter's relationships with journalists/editors and government officials or politicians," in a bid to increase active Twitter usage.
The hire has drawn opposition from the BJP. The political party claims that Khursheed's criticism of party leader Narendra Modi will hurt Twitter's reputation for neutrality in India.
A native Kashmiri, Khursheed has also criticised India's policy in the troubled state, and recently penned an article for Quartz that questioned Rahul Gandhi's prime ministerial credentials.
When contacted by the Holmes Report, Khursheed confirmed his appointment by Twitter, but noted he could not provide further comment.
Khursheed was hired by Rishi Jaitly, who was named head of Twitter India in late 2012. While there are more than 75m registered Twitter profiles in India (second only to Facebook), usage remains low, with one study noting that only 30 percent of accounts are active.