Amid mounting troubles for Twitter, the social media giant’s India MD Manish Maheshwari has been named in an FIR in Uttar Pradesh over an incorrect map of India which showed Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as a separate country.
This is the second time Twitter has misrepresented India’s map. Earlier, it had shown Leh as a part of China. Reports said the microblogging site had removed the map after it was criticised and the government took note of it.
“This act of treason has been committed intentionally and action should be taken," reads the complaint filed by right-wing group Bajrang Dal’s leader Praveen Bhati.
The case has been filed under Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and Section 74 of IT (Amendment) Act 2008.
Maheshwari was summoned by the Uttar Pradesh Police last week over another FIR after a viral video linked to the assault of a Muslim man in UP’s Ghaziabad sparked controversy. Along with Twitter, journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, and some Congress leaders were also named in the case.
The case against Twitter was that it failed to act even after the police clarified that the attack had no communal angle and the man, who had earlier claimed that he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, was assaulted by both Hindus and Muslims amid a dispute over amulets.
Maheshwari got a temporary relief from the Karnataka High Court as he was granted protection from arrest. To an objection by UP Police that this meant Maheshwari, who is a resident of Bengaluru, had been granted anticipatory bail, the court said it was not stopping the investigation. “If police desire to investigate or question, they may do so by virtual mode," Justice Narender said.
Twitter has been embroiled in a war of words with the Centre over the new IT rules. The government has slammed Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules. The new rules which came into effect from May 25 mandate social media companies to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for resolving complaints from the users or victims. All significant social media companies, with over 50 lakh user base shall appoint a grievance officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.
The big social media companies are mandated to appoint a chief compliance officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a resident grievance officer. All of them should be resident in India. Twitter in response to the final notice issued by the government on June 5 had said that it intends to comply with the new IT rules and will share details of the chief compliance officer. In the meantime, the microblogging platform had appointed Dharmendra Chatur as interim resident grievance officer for India.
However, after he stepped down, Twitter appointed California-based Jeremy Kessel as the new grievance officer for India as required under the new Information Technology Rules, 2021. Kessel is the Global Legal Policy Director of Twitter.
According to a government official, the company has lost legal protection as an intermediary and will be legally held responsible for all content posted by its users on the platform.