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Ghaziabad attack: Summoned by UP cops, Twitter India chief moves Karnataka HC for anticipatory bail

01:47 PM Jun 24, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

New Delhi: Twitter's India head - Manish Maheshwari - is expected to reach the police station at Loni, which is on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, by 11.30 am, police sources said Thursday morning. He is to be questioned in connection with tweets about the assault of a Muslim man in UP's Ghaziabad.

Maheshwari has also moved the Karnataka High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail in connection with this case. The plea was filed on June 23.

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The Twitter India MD, who lives in Bengaluru in Karnataka, was issued notice by the Ghaziabad Police on June 21 and asked to report at its Loni Border police station at 10.30 am on Thursday to get his statement recorded in the case, the officials added.

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"He did not reach the police station at the given time and is expected to reach here by noon," Circle Officer (Loni), Atul Kumar Sonkar, told PTI.

Maheshwari on Monday said he would be available for questioning via a video call, but was instead summoned for physical questioning.

The police had also asked Twitter India's Resident Grievance Officer, Dharmendra Chatur, to report for questioning today.

An FIR was filed last week against Twitter India, several journalists and Congress leaders after an elderly man - Abdul Samad - alleged he was thrashed by some others and forced to chant "Jai Sri Ram" and "Vande Mataram".

Those named - who include journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed and Maskoor Usmani - were accused of posting "misleading" tweets and "provoking communal sentiments".

Also Read: FPJ Legal: Bombay HC grants journalist Rana Ayyub pre-arrest protection for four weeks in Ghaziabad assault case

Twitter India had been ordered to delete such posts but initially failed to do so.

"You couldn't remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities. You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them," the notice summoning Maheshwari said.

The police have denied any "communal angle" in the case, claiming the man was beaten up over amulets he sold. They alleged he was attacked by six persons - Hindu and Muslim - known to him.

But the victim's family, however, has denied the police's claims. "The police is wrong in saying my father used to sell tabeez (amulets). No one in our family does this business. We are carpenters. The police are not saying the right thing -- let them investigate and prove it," said the victim's son Babloo Saifi.

Also Read: Uttar Pradesh: Elderly Muslim man brutally assaulted in Ghaziabad; watch video

This is the first time a case has been filed against the social media giant after the Centre's new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect.

The Editors Guild of India condemned the filing of cases against news website The Wire and several journalists for their tweets. It said it was "deeply concerned by UP Police's track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals".

Also Read: Ghaziabad case: Plaint against Twitter India MD, actor Swara Bhaskar, and others

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