Note: Later reports suggests the main accused’s name is Parvez Gujjar and not Parvesh Gujjar.
On June 15, Ghaziabad Police registered an FIR against Alt News cofounder Muhammed Zubair, The Wire, Rana Ayyub, Twitter and others for trying to stoke communal tension by making false claims that elderly Muslim man was beaten up and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. While Zubair, Rana Ayyub, The Wire, Salman Nizami, Maksoor Usmani, Sama Mohammad and Saba Naqvi have been booked for spreading misleading and fake news, Twitter was booked for the lack of action against these seven.
The FIR has been booked under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion etc.), 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Details of the FIR
In the FIR, it was mentioned that these handles shared tweets about Abdul Shamad Saifi, who was beaten up by some miscreants. The seven handles mentioned in the FIR spread misinformation that Saifi was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram”. It was alleged in the FIR that these tweets were published with a criminal intention to spread disharmony among communities. It further added that the tweets were retweeted by thousands of Twitter users in a matter of few hours.
During the initial investigation, Ghaziabad Police found that people from both Hindu and Muslim community were involved in beating the elderly man. The Police issued a press release to clarify that the incident took place due to a personal fight, and there was nothing communal in it. However, none of the accused deleted the tweets or tried to come clean on social media network. Notably, Twitter Inc. and Twitter Communication India Private Limited did not take any steps to remove the said tweets.
As per the FIR, the accused deliberately tweeted in a bid to fan communal tension. “The accused deliberately spread fake news so that the enmity between communities increase. The tweets were shared by influential people through Twitter as a platform and spread it further. As influential members of society, they have responsibility of being careful. Even then, the posts were made without any evidence and gave it a communal angle. While this is not true at all. Further, this is not the first time the accused have spread such lies,” the FIR read.
The Loni Border Incident
As per reports, an elderly Muslim man was beaten up by a few individuals due to a personal fight. However, motivated actors gave a communal colour to the crime by saying that he was beaten for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram. The Ghaziabad Police, after investigating the matter, debunked the fictional narrative spread with the intent to spark communal tensions.
The Ghaziabad Police had said that the ‘victim’ Abdul Samad Saifi was allegedly beaten up by people known to him after an occult amulet he had prepared for one of them did not work as per them. Accused Parvesh Gujjar, Adil and Kallu were arrested on Monday while efforts were on to nab Arif and Poli.
It was highly unlikely that accused like Adil and Arif would perpetrate a religious identity based ‘hate crime’ against a person of their own community. Despite this, the propagandists continued to spread fake news. Not only that, hours after the fake news were debunked, Rahul Gandhi continued to peddle the fictional narrative. As of now, Ghaziabad Police has registered FIR against only seven people. Rahul Gandhi was not mentioned in the FIR.