A court in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city has granted interim bail to all the nine men accused of assaulting an elderly Muslim man earlier this month, PTI reported on Friday.

A video of the assault has been circulating on social media since last Sunday. It showed the accused thrashing the man and cutting off his beard. The incident took place in Ghaziabad’s Loni area on June 5.

The man, identified as Abdul Samad, alleged that he was assaulted for hours at gunpoint after being taken to a room in a forested area.

The police had arrested main accused Parvesh Gujjar on Sunday, June 13. On June 15, the police said they had arrested two more suspects in the case. Two days later, six others were arrested.

The accused have been granted interim bail till August 17. However, Gujjar will stay in judicial custody in connection with another case, his lawyer Parvinder Nagar told the news agency.

The Ghaziabad Police claimed that Gujjar and his associates assaulted Samad because he had allegedly sold them an amulet that had a “negative effect” on their families. They also said that Samad was in the business of making and selling amulets and was an earlier acquaintance of Gujjar and others.

The police’s statement was markedly different from Samad’s account, who had said in a video that the accused forced him to chant Hindu deity Ram’s name, when he was “praying to Allah” while being beaten up. He also said that the accused told him that they had beaten up many Muslims and showed him videos of people from the community being beaten up.

The police did not mention any of these in its statement.

FIR against Twitter, journalists for giving incident ‘communal angle’

The police in Ghaziabad district on Tuesday registered a First Information Report against Twitter, news website The Wire and seven others, including journalists Rana Ayyub and Mohammed Zubair, in connection with the assault of the elderly Muslim man. The FIR mentions specific tweets posted about the incident in Ghaziabad.

The FIR, which also named writer Saba Naqvi and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed and Maskoor Usmani, alleged that the accused did not verify their tweets on the incident and thereby gave a “communal angle” to it.

“The accused and other people tried to create animosity between Hindus and Muslims,” the FIR stated. “The tweets were an attempt to destroy communal harmony...The accused include journalists and political persons who did not make an attempt to establish the truth in the case and spread false news.”

The police also sent a notice to Twitter’s India chief for not “taking cognisance of users who used their [Twitter] handles to post messages which spread hatred and enmity among communities.”