Representational image. (AP)
Representational image. (AP)

UP police send legal notice to Twitter India MD over Loni incident

The summon was issued two days after Twitter, news website wire.in, journalists and Congress leaders were booked for “promoting enmity between religions” for posting and promoting the video amid conflicting narratives of the attack
PUBLISHED ON JUN 18, 2021 09:39 AM IST

The Uttar Pradesh Police have summoned Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari for questioning within seven days in connection with the posting and promotion on the microblogging site of an allegedly manipulated video of the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad.

Also Read: Could Twitter, WhatsApp face ban in India? Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad replies

The summon was issued two days after Twitter, news website wire.in, journalists and Congress leaders were booked for “promoting enmity between religions” for posting and promoting the video amid conflicting narratives of the attack. The video purportedly showed the man being beaten up and his attackers cutting his beard.

The 72-year-old man’s family and friends have said the man’s attackers forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and chopped off his beard. The Uttar Pradesh Police have claimed there was no communal angle to the attack even as a Samajwadi Party leader said that the police deliberately left out the alleged communal slogan chanting from the First Information Report filed in the case.

Also Read | ‘Dilutes your credibility’: Government’s notice to Twitter in toolkit case

Akhilesh Kumar Mishra, the investigating officer in the case, said the notice was issued to Maheshwari late on Thursday evening under the regular provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and he has been asked to appear within seven days and record his statement. “The notice is served so that he appears to record statements under the CrPC’s Section 161.”

The section empowers an investigating officer to seek the appearance of any person who appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of a case.

HT has reached out to Twitter for a comment. The copy will be updated once the company responds.

Officers aware of the matter said Twitter has been named in the case as it did not prevent the video from going viral and allegedly helped in its promotion and circulation.

Twitter was booked amid disagreements between the government and the company over the new guidelines that require digital companies to change how they regulate content, appoint nodal officers for compliance and grievance redressal, and adopt features such as traceability of messages and voluntary user verification. They have also faced off over the government’s orders to Twitter to take down posts. Twitter has also raised concerns regarding the safety of its employees in the country and police intimidation.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday blamed Twitter for deliberately choosing not to comply with the guidelines even as officials in his ministry said that this could have the social media company lose the protection it enjoys as an intermediary. The guidelines came into effect on May 26.

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