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UP Police to Issue Notices to Twitter, Other Accused in Loni FIR, Top Cop Says Misleading Tweets Should Have Been Deleted

Sufi Abdul Samad, who claimed he was attacked and forced to chant 'jai Shree Ram'

Sufi Abdul Samad, who claimed he was attacked and forced to chant 'jai Shree Ram'

The UP police have booked Twitter and certain individuals for misinformation through tweets in the Loni case where an elderly Muslim man was assaulted.

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh police will issue notices to all the accused named in the Loni FIR, including Twitter, asking them to join the investigation, UP’s Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar told News18 on Wednesday.

The UP police have booked Twitter and certain individuals for misinformation through tweets in the Loni case where an elderly Muslim man was assaulted.

“After seeing UP police’s clarification in the case, Twitter should have warned these people who posted wrong information that they should verify their facts otherwise they (Twitter) will delete those posts. We will issue notices to all the accused, including Twitter. We don’t have any prejudice but we want a fair play,” Kumar told News18.

He said Loni in Ghaziabad is a communally very sensitive area. “A few months back, the neighbouring area of Delhi had witnessed a full-fledged riot. These tweets were an attempt to create animosity and communal tension,” Kumar said.

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He added that requests were made to certain social media influencers to delete or clarify their posts. “Once it got clarified, they should have deleted the posts or in their further tweets, they should have said that police has clarified the matter. But they neither issued any clarification nor deleted the content,” Kumar added.

He said one accused later withdrawn his tweets. “Every organisation has some internal mechanism…whatever you write on Twitter, there must be somebody who goes through it and says this is not correct,” Kumar added.

He said one cannot defame the police, the administration and the government. “It was an attempt to bring a bad name…” Kumar said.

The ADG (L&O) further told News18 it was also being suspected that another voice was “superimposed” on the voice of the victim in one video and the same is being investigated by the UP Police.

Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police, H.C. Awasthy, said the entire Loni incident had been given a spin by certain vested interests. “There was no Hindu-Muslim angle in the incident. It was a purely personal dispute. We have registered an FIR to get to the total truth of it. We will not allow such mischief to take place. This was an effort to incite communal sentiments which won’t be accepted,” the DGP said.

Awasthy said he had asked for strong action to be taken against such mischief-mongers who had created an uncalled for controversy. Kumar added the victim makes ‘tabeez’ which he sells to people and those who had assaulted him included Muslims who said they had not good results after wearing them.

The Uttar Pradesh government has become the first to book Twitter in a criminal offence after the social media company has failed to comply so far with the new IT rules that had come into effect from May 26. Social media companies have to comply with the rules to get safe harbour protection and absence of the same exposes them to become liable for fake news, harassment and defamation on its platform.

The Uttar Pradesh Police invoked the same in an FIR lodged late last night against Twitter Inc. and Twitter Communications India PVT for not taking down content regarding the assault on an elderly Muslim man in Loni, Ghaziabad. The Centre was also concerned over the tensions emerging in UP due to misinformation spread over the incident, officials have told News18.

The case of the UP Police is that a statement was put out by the Ghaziabad Police on the night of June 14 but still no action was taken by Twitter even 24 hours later to remove misleading content that was creating communal tensions in UP, leading the FIR on June 15 night.

The FIR has been lodged under offences IPC sections 153, 153A, 295A, 505, 120-B and 34 for causing an offence that can cause rioting, for promoting enmity between communities, a deliberate act to outrage religious feelings and criminal conspiracy – which attract a three-year jail term.

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first published:June 16, 2021, 16:03 IST