Note: Later reports suggests the main accused’s name is Parvez Gujjar and not Parvesh Gujjar.
On June 16, Delhi Police said they have received a complaint against actor Swara Bhaskar, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Asif Khan of Twitter India and Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari over Ghaziabad fake hate crime case. Advocate Amit Acharya filed the complaint. The Police is yet to file an FIR over the complaint. In a statement, Delhi Police said they had received the complaint at Tilak Marg Police station in connection to the said case where a man was thrashed, and his beard was chopped off. The inquiry is underway, the Police added.
Delhi Police say they’ve received complaint against actor Swara Bhaskar, Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari & others at Police Station Tilak Marg, in connection with incident in Loni (Ghaziabad) where a man was thrashed & his beard was chopped off. “It is under inquiry,” they say— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2021
In the complaint Acharya said Bhaskar and others “got inspired by the incident and started a propaganda to spread hate amongst the citizens.”
#JUSTIN: “We have received a complaint against Swara Bhaskar, Manish Maheshwari,MD Twitter and others at PS Tilak Marg. It is under inquiry,” said DCP (New Delhi district) Deepak Yadav.@IndianExpress, @ieDelhi pic.twitter.com/a2ncQYUFvj— Mahender Singh Manral (@mahendermanral) June 17, 2021
Despite being called out as fake news, Bollywood entertainer Swara Bhasker continued to spread the lies that she heard the video wherein the men beating up the elderly Muslim man forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Subsequent videos and evidence released in the case suggest that the the elderly Muslim man was an occult practitioner and was beaten up after a ‘tabeez’ he prepared for one of his clients misfired.
Notably, Swara Bhaskar has left Delhi. She published a tweet stating she had landed in Mumbai.
UP Police booked seven and Twitter over fake news
Earlier on June 15, an FIR was launched by Ghaziabad Police against seven people, including Alt News cofounder Mohammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub and others. Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications India were also listed as accused in the case for their inaction to remove the misleading content from their platform. Notably, Twitter has recently lost its intermediary status in India for not complying with the new Information Technology Rules, which came into force on May 26. The FIR was registered for circulating a muted video allegedly to spread hate among communities.
On June 17, it was reported that Local Samajwadi Party leader, Umed Pahalwan Idris, who appeared in a Facebook Live video alongside Ghaziabad assault victim Abdul Samad, was booked by Ghaziabad police. Police have accused Idrisi of giving the incident of personal animosity a “communal colour”.
The Ghaziabad fake hate crime case
As per reports, on June 5, one Abdul Samad was thrashed by a Parvesh, Aarif, Adil, Mushahid, Kallu and Poli. Samad, a local amulet seller, had sold one to the prime accused, which allegedly had ‘adverse effects on his family.
As per SSP Amit Pathak’s statement, Parvesh called Samad at his residence to seek revenge and thrashed him black and blue with the help of his friends. An FIR was filed by the victim on June 07, stating that he was kidnapped and beaten by people unknown. However, the Police informed that the perpetrators Parvesh, Adil and Kallu during the interrogation had confessed that they knew Samad and had gathered to take revenge.
On June 14, Alt News cofounder Muhammed Zubair and several others gave the incident a communal colour. They Tweeted that the man was threatened at gunpoint, beaten, assaulted and the perpetrators forcefully chopped off his beard. The video and the narrative soon went viral on social media, posing a threat to law and order in the state.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the Uttar Pradesh government filed an FIR on June 15 against Twitter for failing to flag the video with unverified claims as ‘manipulative’ and lack of action. “The tweets were an attempt to destroy communal harmony. These false tweets had been retweeted by thousands of people. The accused include journalists and political persons who did not attempt to establish the truth in the case and spread false news,” read the FIR.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s media advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi released unmuted video of the elderly Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi just few seconds before he was beaten up in the viral video.
The majority of the accused in the FIR deleted the video and tweets after the FIR was filed.