Following the assertion of the Ghaziabad police and some journalists, several 'influencers', 'fact checkers' and media personalities have retracted their view on an incident that involved an elderly Muslim man getting beaten up over a 'tabeez' (amulet) in Uttar Pradesh's Loni.
Investigation conducted by the police reveals that the man was attacked by a group comprising some Hindu and Muslim men, known to him, and the charge of being forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' appeared to be untrue.
Later, on Tuesday, the police lodged an FIR against Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India, news website The Wire, journalists Mohammad Zubair and Rana Ayyub, Congress politicians Salman Nizami, Masqoor Usmani, Dr Shama Mohammad and writer Saba Naqvi for sharing the viral clip.
The FIR, which was lodged at the Loni Border police station in Ghaziabad around 11.30 pm on Tuesday on the basis of a complaint lodged by a local policeman, alleges that the video was shared with an intention to provoke communal unrest.
Soon after, many scribes and media outlets took to social media platforms to retract from their earlier 'communal' angle and cleared the air. Here are few of their reactions:
In the video clip, which surfaced on social media on June 14, the elderly Muslim man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, alleges he was thrashed by some young men and asked to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'.
However, the Ghaziabad police, who have arrested three people for assaulting Saifi, have ruled out a communal angle. They said the accused were unhappy about a 'tabeez' (amulet) he sold to them.
A police official said on Wednesday that the arrested accused have been identified as Kalloo Gurjar, Pravesh Gurjar and Adil. Police are also looking for four others — Polly, Himanshu, Arif and Murshid.
'These people did not verify the truth of the matter and shared it online with a communal angle with an intention to disrupt public peace and create a divide between religious groups,' the FIR further states.
'Besides this, Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications India also did not take any measures to remove their tweets,' it adds.
The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion, class etc), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief), 120B (criminal conspiracy), among others.
(With inputs from PTI and other agencies)