“I am deeply saddened by the attack on the 72-year-old man in Ghaziabad. However, that doesn’t mean we should use our leverage to post on social media without checking the facts of the case to encourage hatred, “Amit Acharya, a lawyer, told MediaNama about a complaint he made against Twitter and its managing director had submitted Manish Maheshwari, actor Swara Bhasker and others for tweets posted on the platform about the Ghaziabad attack.
When Tilak Marg PS was contacted on Friday, he said no case had been recorded on the matter. MediaNama has also reached out to Twitter and the post will be updated as soon as we receive a response. Acharya had previously taken Twitter to the Delhi High Court for non-compliance with the IT rules in 2021.
It is important to note that a similar case, in which Twitter and others were blamed for tweeting the case of the Ghaziabad attack, was recorded on June 15 at the Loni Border Police Station in the Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Twitter, congressional politicians and some journalists were named as defendants in the case because the tweets were allegedly provocative.
Ghaziabad attack case, a background: On June 5, an elderly Muslim man was attacked by UP in Loni, Ghaziabad district. 5. A Hindustan Times report says that the attackers 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. Although it is said that the attack was communal in nature, the police deny this aspect and claim that it was an interpersonal matter that led to the attack.
The FIR reportedly said that Ghaziabad police had resolved the matter, but nonetheless, other defendants named in the FIR did not delete their tweets and Twitter did nothing about the matter.
What are the complaints against Bhaskers and journalists?
MediaNama received a copy of Acharya’s complaint detailing the allegations against Bhasker, Twitter, journalists Arfa Khanum Sherwani and Md Asif Khan. Attorney Acharya said Md. Asif Khan, Arfa Khanum Sherwani and Swara Bhaskar “were inspired by the incident through their Twitter handles and started propaganda to spread hatred among citizens.”
- Acharya said tweets from Bhasker, Khan and Sherwani had given the incident common colors. “The tweets did not show their personal opinions, but showed the users wrong intentions to initiate a conspiracy against religious harmony in the country in order to promote hatred and enmity between the religious groups,” the complaint said.
- He alleged that the aforementioned Twitter users shared the allegedly false information and committed crimes under IPC Sections 153, 153A, 295A, 505, 120B and 34 with it, and that “despite clear information available, the users cited above made use of it Incident to communalize and spread hatred among religions ”.
What’s the Complaint Against Twitter?
- Twitter Inc, Twitter Communication India Private Limited and MD of Twitter India Manish Maheshwari took no action to remove these “false tweets knowing that the incident had no community aspect”.
- The complaint states: “Even Twitter Inc and Twitter Communication India Private Limited have not filtered these tweets as manipulated media with the sole aim of disturbing the peace and harmony among the citizens of India,” it said.
Twitter in countless legal troubles in the country
These developments are against the background of several reports quoting unnamed government sources who claimed Twitter lost its mediator status for failure to comply with IT rules in 2021. Failure to comply with IT rules means that Twitter can be held responsible for the content shared by users on its platform.
Last week, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology issued a letter warning Twitter that if Twitter did not comply with IR rules, it would lose its indemnity as an intermediary under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000.