The FIR also claimed that despite Ghaziabad Police clarifying the issue, the accused did not delete their tweets.
The Ghaziabad Police has registered an FIR against Twitter and seven other people in connection with the assault of an elderly man in Loni, the video of which went viral on social media and was shared widely. The FIR was registered against nine people/organisations which included Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, journalists Rana Ayyub, writer Saba Naqvi, online media organisation The Wire, Congress’s Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed and Maskoor Usmani, and Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications India Pvt.
Police have invoked IPC sections 153 (provocation for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505 (mischief), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) in the FIR.
“There is no communal angle to the incident in Loni where a man was thrashed and his beard chopped off. Twitter has done nothing to stop the video from going viral,” said the Ghaziabad Police in the FIR.
BJP leader Priti Gandhi said that Ghaziabad Police has named Twitter in FIR for failing to tag ‘manipulated media’. “After @ghaziabadpolice rejected his fake news and UP govt filed an FIR against Twitter for failing to tag ‘manipulated media’, the spit-&-run self-certified fact-checker (yeah rite!!) @zoo_bear just deleted his tweet & ran away with his tail tightly tucked between his legs!!” she said.
After @ghaziabadpolice rejected his fake news & UP govt filed an FIR against Twitter for failing to tag 'manipulated media', the spit-&-run self certified fact checker (yeah rite!!) @zoo_bear just deleted his tweet & ran away with his tail tightly tucked between his legs!! ???????? pic.twitter.com/V8a7hOkuQP
— Priti Gandhi – प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) June 15, 2021
The police has so far arrested three people for allegedly assaulting the elderly man, Abdul Samad Saifi. The arrested accused have been identified as Parvesh Gujjar, Adil and Kallu. While Saifi has alleged that the men took him to an isolated place in an autorickshaw, beat him up and forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram, police ruled out the communal angle. It said the accused beat Saifi up because he sold them a ‘tabeez’ (amulet) that they believed did not work.
“The tweets by the accused had been broadcast on a large scale. The statements made through social media by the accused hint at a criminal conspiracy. The accused and other people tried to create animosity between Hindus and Muslims. The tweets were an attempt to destroy communal harmony. These false tweets had been retweeted by thousands of people. The accused include journalists and political persons who did not make an attempt to establish the truth in the case and spread false news,” reads the FIR.
The FIR also claimed that despite Ghaziabad Police clarifying the issue, the accused did not delete their tweets. However, Zubair deleted his Tweet after the FIR and issued a clarification saying that the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chant angle ‘does not seem to add up’.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also shared the news item on his Twitter handle, saying, “I am not ready to believe that true devotees of Shri Ram can do this. Such cruelty is far from humanity and is shameful for both society and religion.”
However, he was called out soon after by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “The first lesson of Lord Shri Ram is – “Speak the truth” which you have never done in life. You should be ashamed that even after telling the truth by the police, you are spreading poison in society. You are shaming humanity in the greed of power. Stop humiliating, defaming the people of Uttar Pradesh,” said Yogi Adityanath.
प्रभु श्री राम की पहली सीख है-"सत्य बोलना" जो आपने कभी जीवन में किया नहीं।
शर्म आनी चाहिए कि पुलिस द्वारा सच्चाई बताने के बाद भी आप समाज में जहर फैलाने में लगे हैं।
सत्ता के लालच में मानवता को शर्मसार कर रहे हैं। उत्तर प्रदेश की जनता को अपमानित करना, उन्हें बदनाम करना छोड़ दें। pic.twitter.com/FOn0SJLVqP
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) June 15, 2021
This is the first time in India that a case has been registered against Twitter where it has been held accountable for third party content as per the Centre’s new rules.