The Uttar Pradesh Police has sent a legal notice to Twitter’s India head for “provoking communal unrest” on the assault on a Muslim man in Ghaziabad earlier this month.
Manish Maheshwari, Managing Director of Twitter in India, has been asked to come to the Police Station at Loni Border and record the statement within seven days, reported news agency ANI.
Ghaziabad Police sent legal notice to Managing Director of Twitter India over viral video of an elderly man in Loni being assaulted with the intent of “provoking communal unrest”
The MD has been asked to come to the Police Station Loni Border & record the statement within 7 days pic.twitter.com/u5Ct8Omq6l
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 18, 2021
“Some people used their Twitter handle as a tool to spread hatred in the society and Twitter Communication India and Twitter Inc did not take any action against it. They let the anti-social messages go viral,” the notice sent to Mr Maheshwari read.
The development comes just days after Twitter, several journalists and Congress leaders were named in an FIR (first information report) in Ghaziabad after an elderly Muslim man alleged that he was assaulted on June 5.
The man, Sufi Abdul Samad, had alleged that his beard was cut off and he was forced to chant “Vande Mataram” and “Jai Shri Ram” by a group that assaulted him. UP Police say there was nothing communal about the incident; the man was attacked by six people — Hindus and Muslims – who were angry with him for allegedly selling fake good luck charms.
Abdul Samad’s family has denied police’s claims. “The police is wrong in saying that my father used to sell ‘tabeez’. No one in our family does this business. We are carpenters. The police are not saying the right thing – let them investigate and prove it,” said Babloo Saifi, Abdul Samad’s son.
The FIR against Twitter and eight others has been filed under IPC sections 153 (provocation for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505 (mischief), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) against them.
This is the first case against the social media giant after the government’s new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect. The microblogging site “has lost the legal shield”, sources in the government said, “as it failed to comply with the new IT rules”.
“Twitter can face liability for penal action against any Indian law just like any other publisher. They did not flag a video (linked to the case) as manipulated media,” sources said.
Twitter, on its part, says it has appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer as mandated by the centre’s new laws.