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Another complaint filed against Twitter at Tilak Marg PS over tweets on Ghaziabad assault case

Twitter blocked government order

“I am deeply saddened by the Ghaziabad assault that was perpetrated on the 72-year-old man. However, that does not mean, that we should use our influence to post on social media without verifying the facts of the case to promote hatred,” Amit Acharya, an advocate told MediaNama, regarding a complaint that he filed against Twitter and its managing director Manish Maheshwari, actor Swara Bhasker and others for tweets posted on the platform over the Ghaziabad assault case.

When contacted on Friday, Tilak Marg PS said a case has not yet been registered over the matter. MediaNama has also reached out to Twitter and the post will be updated when we receive a response. Earlier, Acharya dragged Twitter to the Delhi High Court regarding non-compliance to the IT Rules 2021.

It is important to note that a similar case holding Twitter and others responsible over tweets on the Ghaziabad assault case was registered on June 15 at the Loni Border Police Station in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Twitter, Congress politicians and a few journalists were named as accused in the case because the tweets were allegedly provocative in nature.

Ghaziabad assault case, a background: On June 5, an elderly Muslim man was attacked in Loni in UP’s Ghaziabad district June 5. A Hindustan Times report said that the assailants also chopped 72-year-old Abdul Samad’s beard and forced him to chant religious slogans. A video of the incident went viral on social media platforms in the following days. While it is being said that the attack is communal in nature, police deny that angle and maintain that it was an interpersonal matter that led to the attack.

The FIR reportedly said that the Ghaziabad Police had clarified regarding the matter, but despite that, other accused named in the FIR did not delete their tweets and Twitter did not do anything regarding the same.

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What are the complaints against Bhasker and journalists?

MediaNama has received a copy of the complaint from Acharya which details out the allegations made against Bhasker, Twitter, journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani and Md Asif Khan. Advocate Acharya said that Md. Asif Khan, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Swara Bhaskar “through their Twitter handles got inspired from the incident and started a propaganda to spread hate amongst the citizens”.

  • Acharya said that tweets made by Bhasker, Khan and Sherwani gave communal colours to the incident. “The tweets did not indicate their personal opinions instead showed wrong intentions to the users to initiate conspiracy against religious harmony in the country to encourage hate and enmity between the religious groups,” the complaint read.
  • HE alleged that the mentioned Twitter users shared the purported false information and thus alleged committed offences under IPC sections 153, 153A, 295A, 505, 120B and 34. Acharya said that Ghaziabad police had ‘already clarified through a press note’ that the issue was not communal and “in spite of clear information available, the above-cited users used this incident to communalise and spread hate amongst religions”.

What is the complaint against Twitter?

  • Twitter Inc, Twitter Communication India Private Limited and MD of Twitter India Manish Maheshwari did not take any action to remove these “false tweets knowing the fact that the incident did not have any kind of communal angle”.
  • The complaint said, “Also Twitter Inc and Twitter Communication India Private Limited did not filter these tweets as manipulated media having the sole objective to disturb the peace and harmony among the citizens of India,” it read.

Twitter in myriad legal troubles in the country

These developments come in the backdrop of multiple reports citing unnamed government sources who claimed that Twitter has lost its status as an intermediary for failing to comply with the IT Rules 2021. Non-compliance to the IT Rules means that Twitter may be liable for the content shared by users on its platform.

Last week, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology sent a letter to Twitter warning that if Twitter did not comply with the IR Rules then it would lose exemption from liability as an intermediary available under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000.

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