The Uttar Pradesh police has arrested two more accused for allegedly attacking a Muslim man in Ghaziabad after viral videos claimed the elderly man’s beard was chopped off and he was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram”. Police have, however, ruled out the communal angle, saying the accused — both Hindus and Muslims — attacked the man after a dispute over amulets.
The two arrested on Thursday were identified as Intezaar and Saddam alias Bauna. With this, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to five.
Meanwhile, Ghaziabad Police booked a local Samajwadi Party leader, Ummed Pahalwan Idrisi, who appeared in a Facebook Live video alongside the elderly man who was allegedly assaulted. Idrisi is accused of “spreading enmity” on social media.
The viral video created ripples across the country, with several factions condemning the alleged communal attack. The man had publicly alleged that the attackers offered him an auto ride, took him to an isolated spot, brutally beat him up, and forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram.
However, police ruled out any communal angle in the case, saying victim Sufi Abdul Samad was attacked by both Hindus and Muslims who were unhappy over the amulets he had sold them.
Soon, an FIR was filed against Twitter and several journalists such as Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammed Zubair as well as online news platform “The Wire” for “flaring communal sentiments”. The allegation against Twitter is that it did not delete the tweet despite a clarification by the Ghaziabad police. A case under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153a (promoting enmity between different groups), 295a (intentions to outrage religious feeling), 505 (statement conducting public mischief) and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC has been registered at Loni police station.
This is the first case against Twitter where it has been held liable for third party content after Centre’s new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect. The social media giant “has lost the legal shield”, sources in the government said, “as it failed to comply with the new IT rules”.