Twitter, Journalists Named by Ghaziabad Police For Giving ‘Communal’ Spin to Attack on Elderly Man

The FIR filed in Ghaziabad’s Loni area named journalists including Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammed Zubair, as well as online news platform The Wire, among others.

New Delhi: An FIR has been filed against Twitter and several renowned journalists in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad for “flaring communal sentiments” regarding an elderly Muslim man who alleged he was assaulted on refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram”. The alleged incident took place on June 5 and a video of the same has gone viral across social media platforms.

According to reports, the victim, Abdul Samad was allegedly abducted from an autorickshaw by the attackers and dragged to a hut in a nearby forested area, where they locked him up and reportedly shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram‘ and ‘Vande Mataram’. The victim had said that they forced him to shout as well, as they punched and hit him with wooden sticks.

The FIR filed in Ghaziabad’s Loni area named journalists including Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammed Zubair, as well as online news platform The Wire for incorrectly reporting without “verifying facts” and giving a communal spin to it.

The FIR mentioned tweets shared on the incident as “misleading” and with a clear agenda to “flare up communal tensions” as they were re-tweeted over and over again by thousands of people. The Ghaziabad Police had “put out a clarification” regarding the same but neither the tweets were deleted nor Twitter took any action to mark them as manipulated media.

“On social media, we came across a video where an elderly man- Abdul Samad, resident of UP’s Bulandshahr, is being attacked by some men. When we investigated this further, we found out that he came on June 5 from the Loni-border area. From there, Abdul Samad, who makes amulets, went to Hazipur village. He already knew the accused. The men called him to their house to discuss some grievances with him, where they started fighting and beat him up. Almost all the accused have been traced and at least three arrests have been made already. More arrests will be done soon,” Ghaziabad police officer Ira Raja said in a video shared on Twitter.

Journalist Mohammed Zubair, who has been named in the FIR, said, “I’ve deleted the videos that I had posted. The victim’s version of him being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” at this point in time do not seem to add up based on my conversations with police authorities and other journalists reporting on this issue.”

Subsequently, the government has taken away Twitter’s legal indemnity in India for not complying with the directives. “Due to their non-compliance, their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is,” government sources told NDTV.

“It is the only social media platform among mainstream platforms that has not adhered to new laws,” news agency ANI further quoted a government source.

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