HC relieves Twitter: BJP says UP Police proactive; Congress slams Yogi govt

Topics Twitter | Karnataka | BJP

The BJP Friday said the Uttar Pradesh police was being "pro-active" in sending a notice to the Twitter India MD over the circulation of a "communally sensitive" video, while the Congress slammed the state government for "targeting" the official "individually" through the summons which was quashed by the Karnataka High Court.

The HC quashed the notice issued to Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari by the UP police, seeking his personal appearance as part of its probe into the video uploaded by a user on Twitter, saying it was issued by mala fide.

The single bench of Justice G Narendar said the notice under Section 41(A) CrPC should be treated as Section under 160 of CrPC, allowing the Ghaziabad Police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode from his office or his residential address in Bengaluru.

Responding to the development, UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, "We have seen riots in western Uttar Pradesh in the past and the large scale use of social media in it. The police were pro-active to prevent any communal disharmony and hence took this decision to set accountability of a social media platform and sent notice to Twitter."

"The court has disallowed in person appearance but allowed questioning through virtual mode. We respect the decision of the Karnataka High Court. The Uttar Pradesh government is committed to ensuring no misuse of social media for disturbing communal harmony," he told PTI in Lucknow.

UP Congress' social media vice chairperson Pankhuri Pathak said the way the UP government is "targeting" Twitter is something not seen anywhere in the world.

'This government is just after Twitter and trying to control social media the way it has controlled the mainstream media," she alleged.

"We have earlier seen law enforcement agencies' raids at offices of social media but when that did not work, the government went after individuals, targeting them personally. This vendetta politics is hurting the image of India world over," Pathak said.

Meanwhile, the Ghaziabad Police, which had lodged an FIR against Twitter and others on June 15 over the circulation of the video of an elderly Muslim man who claimed being attacked by a group of young men and his beard being forcibly shaved off, said it was yet to receive the Karnataka HC's order.

"We are yet to receive the Karnataka High Court's order. When we get the order, we shall decide the course of our future action accordingly," Ghaziabad police chief Amit Kumar Pathak told PTI.

The FIR named as accused Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd (Twitter India), news website The Wire, journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, besides Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Shama Mohamed and writer Saba Naqvi.

They were booked over the circulation of a video in which the man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, also alleged that he was forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' on June 5 during the attack.

However, the police maintained that it was not a communal attack but some people had tried to portray it that way while sharing the video on social media.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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