Twitter, journalists named in FIR by UP Police over Ghaziabad assault incident

“There is no communal angle to the incident in Loni where a man was thrashed and his beard was chopped off,” the UP government said in the FIR, while naming Twitter, senior journalists and Congress leaders.

The Uttar Pradesh government has filed an FIR against Twitter, journalists and two Congress leaders in connection with an incident in Ghaziabad’s Loni where an elderly Muslim man was allegedly assaulted.

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.

“There is no communal angle to the incident in Loni where a man was thrashed and his beard was chopped off. The following entities — The Wire, Rana Ayyub, Mohammad Zubair, Dr Shama Mohammed, Saba Naqvi, Maskoor Usmani, Slaman Nizami — without checking the fact, started giving communal colour to the incident on Twitter and suddenly they started spreading messages to disrupt the peace and bring differences between the religious communities,” the Ghaziabad Police noted in their FIR.

A video showing an elderly Muslim man being thrashed in Ghaziabad’s Loni went viral on social media. Abdul Samad, 72, was thrashed by six people on June 5. The assailants also chopped off his beard, as can be seen in the viral video.

“There is no communal angle in the incident. The victim and the accused have known each other since long. The victim sold a tabeez (amulet) to key accused Parvesh but he [Parvesh] complained that it had an adverse effect on his family,” said Superintendent of Police (SP), Ghaziabad (rural), Iraj Raja.

SP Raja added, “He [Parvesh] called Abdul Samad to his residence and started thrashing him. He called his friends Kallu, Poli, Aadil, Arif and Mushahid, who also tied up the victim and chopped off his beard. A case has been registered in this regard and key accused have been arrested. The investigation is still on.”

The victim knew the accused but did not name any of them in the FIR, informed police, adding that there was also no mention of the victim being forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the complaint.

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.

The UP government’s action came on the backdrop of Twitter losing its legal protection in India over its failure to appoint statutory officers in line with the new IT rules.

The micro-blogging site lost its intermediary status and, thus, immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. Twitter will now be editorially responsible for each content on its platform as it will be treated as publisher.

Source: India Today

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