Twitter India’s managing director Manish Maheshwari has moved the Karnataka High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail in connection with a case filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police regarding the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad district. A transit anticipatory bail provides protection from arrest.
The development comes after the Twitter chief was summoned by the police for questioning and recording his statement in the case within seven days. The police have also rejected Maheshwari’s response that he was in no way directly involved in the case and that he was available for questioning on a video call.
According to media reports, Maheshwari was supposed to appear before the Loni police station today, but has not appeared so far. Notably, Twitter has been charged in the case after it lost its legal protection in India for not complying with the Centre’s new IT rules. The UP Police notice sent to Maheshwari provides that the social media giant failed to remove the tweets containing a video clip of the incident despite being asked by the authorities.
Recently, Twitter, several journalists and Congress leaders were named in an FIR in Ghaziabad. The FIR, filed by UP police, had accused them of provocation and inciting communal violence.
Sufi Abdul Samad, the man who had been assaulted, had alleged that the attackers cut off his beard and forced him to chant ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Shri Krishna’.
UP police refuted the allegations after launching a probe and said there was nothing communal about the incident. They claimed that the man had been attacked by a group of Hindus and Muslims who were angry at him for selling fake amulets.
Twitter lost legal protection
The Union government withdrew the legal protection given to Twitter in India after the micro-blogging site failed to comply with the new rules under Information Technology Act. It can no longer claim protection from action because of third-party content.
The new rules came into effect on May 26. The rules required Twitter to appoint India-based officers to handle grievances related to it in the country. UP became the first state after this development to level criminal charges against Twitter.
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