The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday summoned Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari for questioning on Thursday in the case related to tweets on an assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad, reported NDTV. Earlier on Monday, reports said that Maheshwari had said he would be available via video call.
In its notice, the Ghaziabad police have asked Maheshwari to appear at the police station by 10.30 am on Thursday or face action. Twitter India’s Head of Policy Communications Pallavi Walia did not comment when asked about Monday’s notice, reported The Hindu.
“You could not remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities,” the notice said, according to NDTV. “You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them.”
The police have also asked Twitter India’s Resident Grievance Officer Dharmendra Chatur to report to the police station on Thursday.
The Ghaziabad Police claimed on June 15 that there was no communal angle to the assault on the Muslim man. The police also claimed that the tweets on the viral video were “an attempt to destroy communal harmony”.
A video of the assault has been circulating on social media since June 14. It shows 72-year-old Abdul Samad Saifi saying that he had been abducted in an autorickshaw by several men and locked up in a secluded house on June 5 in Ghaziabad district’s Loni area. Saifi alleged he was assaulted and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. He also said the assailants cut his beard and made him watch videos of other Muslims being attacked.
On June 17, the Ghaziabad Police sent a legal notice to Maheshwari in the case. He was directed to report to the the Loni border police station within seven days to record his statement.
Why has Twitter been booked?
On June 16, Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Twitter has been booked in the case as it failed to comply with the Centre’s new social media rules. His comments came amid reports that Twitter had lost its “intermediary status” due to non-compliance of the rules.
However, Prasad, did not directly confirm or deny if Twitter had indeed lost its intermediary status.
“There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision,” he had said. “However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the intermediary guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May.”
Experts dealing with laws related to the internet, however, suggested that the new rules do not contain any power or process for grant or revocation of an intermediary status of social media platforms or other websites.