After Losing Legal Shield, Twitter Charged With ‘Provoking Communal Sentiments’

New Delhi: With the failure to comply with new rules requiring it to appoint key officers based in India, Twitter has lost its legal protection in the country. Soon after, a case was registered in Uttar Pradesh against the micro-blogging site over tweets on an assault that, according to cops, attempted to incite communal unrest.

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Sources in the Ministry of Electronics and IT said that Twitter has not yet complied with all the provisions of the rules that came into force on May 25. “Due to their non-compliance their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is,” the sources were quoted as saying by NDTV.

The first case that held Twitter responsible for third-party content was registered in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad on Tuesday night. This was in connection with an alleged assault on an elderly Muslim man on June 5.

Twitter has been accused in an FIR of not removing “misleading” content connected with the incident.

According to the man, Sufi Abdul Samad, his beard was allegedly cut off and he was forced to chant “Vande Matram” and “Jai Shri Ram” by a group of men that also assaulted him.

However, according to UP police, he was lying and it was not a communal incident as implied in the tweets. Cops say the man was attacked by six men — Hindus and Muslims — who were upset over amulets he had sold them.

The FIR charged Twitter and several journalists for inciting “communal sentiments” with posts sharing Samad’s allegations.

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