Twitter and several journalists have been named in an FIR (first information report) in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad over “flaring communal sentiments” after an elderly Muslim man alleged that he was assaulted. While the man claimed in a video that his beard was cut off and he was forced to chant “Vande Matram” and “Jai Shri Ram” after the accused took him away to a forested area and locked him up in a hut, police have ruled out any “communal angle”.
This is the first case against Twitter where it has been held liable for third party content after centre’s new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect. The social media giant “has lost the legal shield”, sources in the government said, “as it failed to comply with the new IT rules”. “Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is. Due to their non-compliance, their protection as an intermediary is gone. Since they do not enjoy any protection and they did not flag this video (in the case) as manipulated media, they are liable for penal action.”
Last evening, the social media giant said it appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer as mandated by the centre’s new laws. A spokesperson said the company “continues to make every effort” to comply with the new guidelines and is keeping the IT Ministry apprised of progress at every step of the process.
Ruling out any communal angle in the case, the UP Police said Sufi Abdul Samad, the elderly man, was attacked by six men – Hindus and Muslims – who were unhappy over the amulets he had sold them.
The FIR filed in Ghaziabad’s Loni also mentions several journalists – Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammed Zubair. Online news platform “The Wire” has also been named.
In a tweet, Mohammed Zubair said, “I’ve deleted the videos that I had posted. The victim’s version of him being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” at this point in time do not seem to add up based on my conversations with police authorities and other journalists reporting on this issue. (sic)”
The case was filed two days after the incident which took place on June 5 under IPC sections 342, section 323, section 504, section 506.