Note: Later reports suggests the main accused’s name is Parvez Gujjar and not Parvesh Gujjar.
Uttar Pradesh Police in a press conference held on Wednesday afternoon apprised that an FIR has been filed against Twitter and few other social media account holders for publishing incorrect and inflammatory information pertaining to the Ghaziabad crime which is still under investigation.
Ghaziabad: ट्विटर पर FIR के मामले को लेकर पुलिस एसएसपी अमित पाठक का बयान, कहा- ‘सोशल मीडिया पर ऐसे कंटेंट डाले गए जिससे कि लोगों की भडकाव की भावना पैदा हुई। कानूनी रूप से ट्विटर के खिलाफ कार्यवाही की जायेगी’ @ghaziabadpolice @TwitterIndia @UPGovt pic.twitter.com/eybVcizc1G— Newsroom Post (@NewsroomPostCom) June 16, 2021
SSP Amit Pathak informed that some social media handles and media publications turned the entire incident of assault on an old man into hate crime and deliberately tried to give it communal colours. The SSP stated that while the accused and the victim were known to each other, false claims on social media had fanned a communal narrative, hinting that it was a crime committed solely for communal hatred.
It is notable here that Twitter has just lost its intermediary status for failing to comply with the new IT rules and in a first, has been named by UP Police in the FIR for helping to spread fake news perpetuating communal violence.
However, the police investigation basis an initial FIR filed on June 07 had already revealed that the victim was known to the accused and was thrashed due to personal animosity. Yet certain social media handles went ahead to misconstrued the facts and propel a fake narrative which could fan communal tension.
Stern about the fact that nobody has the liberty to publish unverified and misleading information about an ongoing case, Pathak informed that an FIR has been filed against the social media platform Twitter, Twitter India and seven individuals.
“We are still watchful and if anyone is found furthering the narrative and deliberately publishes hateful content to disturb the communal harmony, strict action will be taken,” informed Pathak. He added that the police is identifying other publishers too, who had fanned the false narrative trying to give the incident a communal colour.
Victim’s initial complaint found factually wrong
The police informed that the FIR filed on June 07 mentioned that the accused and location both were unknown to the victim, however, the investigations have revealed otherwise.
The sequence mentioned in the FIR also does not match up as the FIR stated that Samad was taken in a rickshaw to an unknown location near a forest. However, during the investigation, the accused revealed that Samad was called by the prime accused Parvesh to his home where the other members (also known to the victim) gathered to take revenge.
Reportedly, Samad known for selling occult amulet had sold one to the prime accused. However, the accused’s family reportedly did not receive the ‘promised benefits’ from the amulet and hence the accused held a grudge against the victim.
FIR against Twitter and others
The Uttar Pradesh Government has initiated action against Twitter for failing to take down tweets that spread misinformation about a crime in the state.
Alt News co-founder Muhammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub, The Wire, Salman Nizami, Maksoor Usmani, Sama Mohammad and Saba Naqvi have also been booked for spreading misleading and fake news.
Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Zubair issue clarification
Soon after being booked by the UP Police, alleged journalists Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and fact-checker Muhammed Zubair issued a clarification and decided to wait for the investigations to complete before making another statement.
Muhammed Zubair took down the muted video of the incident where he claimed the victim was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram.’
I’ve deleted the videos that I had posted. The victim’s version of him being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” at this point in time do not seem to add up based on my conversations with police authorities and other journalists reporting on this issue. https://t.co/cof5bjv3I4— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) June 15, 2021
Realizing that the matter is under investigation by UP Police, Saba Naqvi Tweeted that she will wait for the investigation to complete.
It seems the Ghaziabad police is investigating the case of the elderly Muslim man and has put forward a different version. My comment on Twitter was based on a newspaper report. I will wait for the investigation to be completed before further comment.— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) June 16, 2021
Waiting for truth to prevail, Ayyub claimed that her Tweets were based on other news reports.
2/2 a different narrative, I shall wait for the truth to prevail at the earliest. My endeavour remains as always to share news that highlights the truth and thereby promotes peace and harmony in our society. I hope the victim gets justice.— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 16, 2021
Meanwhile, the netizens have also demanded strict action against Bollywood entertainer Swara Bhasker for inciting the public even after being made aware of the investigation details.