Police To Question Twitter India Chief Today Over Ghaziabad Assault Case: Sources

1 month ago 21
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Manish Maheshwari is Twitter India's chief (File)

New Delhi:

Twitter's India head - Manish Maheshwari - is expected to reach the police station at Loni, which is on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, by 11.30 am, police sources said Thursday morning. He is to be questioned in connection with tweets about the assault of a Muslim man in UP's Ghaziabad.

Mr Maheshwari on Monday said he would be available for questioning via a video call, but was instead summoned for physical questioning.

An FIR was filed last week against Twitter India, several journalists and Congress leaders after an elderly man - Abdul Samad - alleged he was thrashed by some others and forced to chant "Jai Sri Ram" and "Vande Mataram".

Those named - who include journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed and Maskoor Usmani - were accused of posting "misleading" tweets and "provoking communal sentiments".

Twitter India had been ordered to delete such posts but initially failed to do so.

"You couldn't remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities. You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them," the notice summoning Mr Maheshwari said.

The police have denied any "communal angle" in the case, claiming the man was beaten up over amulets he sold. They alleged he was attacked by six persons - Hindu and Muslim - known to him.

Mr Samad's family, however, has denied the police's claims.

"The police is wrong in saying my father used to sell tabeez (amulets). No one in our family does this business. We are carpenters. The police are not saying the right thing -- let them investigate and prove it," the assault victim's son Babloo Saifi told NDTV.

This is the first time a case has been filed against the social media giant after the centre's new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week said: "What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter's arbitrariness in fighting fake news...While Twitter has been overenthusiastic about its fact-checking, failure to act in multiple cases like UP... indicates inconsistency in fighting misinformation."

The Editors Guild of India condemned the filing of cases against news website The Wire and several journalists for their tweets. It said it was "deeply concerned by UP Police's track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals".

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