16 Jun 2021: FIR against Twitter, journalists over posts about Muslim man's assault
The Uttar Pradesh Police has filed a First Information Report against Twitter, news website The Wire, and seven others in connection with their posts on assault of an elderly Muslim man there, reports say. Others mentioned in the FIR include journalists Rana Ayyub and Mohammed Zubair, writer Saba Naqvi, and three leaders of the Congress party - Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed, and Maskoor Usmani.
Details: Accused booked for promoting enmity, criminal conspiracy
Police has booked them under the Indian Penal Code 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), according to The Indian Express. Cops said the accused did not verify their tweets on the issue, thus giving a "communal angle" to it.
Context: Muslim man was beaten up, motive not clear
The incident came to light after a video showing Abdul Samad being assaulted in Loni went viral on social media. He was allegedly beaten up and his beard was cut off by a group of five to six men. Samad claimed in a separate video the accused forced him to chant Hindu deity Ram's name when he was "praying to Allah" during the attack.
Police's account: 3 arrested, but police rules out communal angle
Police has since arrested three people linked with the attack - Parvesh Gujjar was held on Sunday while two others, Kallu Gujjar and Adil, were arrested yesterday. Cops, however, ruled out any communal enmity, saying the attack happened because the accused were unhappy about a "tabeez" (amulet) that Samad had sold them. The accused believed the amulet had a "negative effect" on their families.
Claims: Adil's brother claims Muslim men had gone to rescue Samad
Meanwhile, Faisal, the brother of the arrested accused Adil, has claimed that police's version of the incident is partially true. He said that Adil and a few other Muslim men had gone to rescue Samad from Gujjar. "They brought Samad out (from Gujjar's home)." Faisal added that it was Parvesh Gujjar who gave the names of Adil and other Muslim men to the police.
Other details: 'Tweets an attempt to destroy communal harmony'
The FIR, filed last night, alleges that the Ghaziabad Police had issued a clarification on the case, but neither Twitter nor the accused individuals removed their tweets. "The tweets were an attempt to destroy communal harmony," according to the FIR. However, Zubair, a co-founder of the website Alt News, has since deleted the tweet and informed about that in a separate post.
Background: Case comes as Twitter loses legal protection in India
This also marks the first police case against Twitter after the company reportedly lost legal protection in India for failing to comply with the new IT rules. It implies that Twitter employees can now face police questioning and criminal action over content posted on the platform by its users. Twitter and the Indian government have long been involved in a row over the rules.
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