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‘Flaring communal sentiments’: FIR against Twitter and journalists for tweets about assault

Ghaziabad: In connection with the assault of an elderly Muslim man, the Ghaziabad police have filed a First Information Report against Twitter, news website The Wire, and seven others, including journalists Rana Ayyub and Mohammed Zubair.

Among the others named in the FIR are writer Saba Naqvi and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed, and Maskoor Usmani. According to the complaint, there was no verification of tweets and thus a ‘communal angle’ to the incident. They have been charged under sections 153 (provocation for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505 (mischief), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

It is mentioned in the FIR registered on Tuesday night that the tweets were widely shared and hinted at a criminal conspiracy. According to the FIR, ‘the accused and other people tried to spread hatred between Hindus and Muslims.’ The tweets were an attempt to destroy communal harmony. The accused include journalists and politicians who did not attempt to establish the truth in the case and spread false information.

The incident from Ghaziabad district’s Loni area made headlines after a video was circulated on social media showing a Muslim man being assaulted. The man has been identified as Abdul Samad. According to reports, Samad’s beard was cut off and he was beaten up. According to initial reports, he was also asked to chant “Jai Shri Ram’. Zurbair posted the video to Twitter but later deleted it.

Parvesh Gujjar, the main accused, was arrested on Sunday. The police arrested two others on Tuesday, Kallu Gujjar and Adil. Gujjar and his associates allegedly assaulted Samad for allegedly selling them an amulet that had a “negative impact” on their families. Samad made and sold amulets and was previously acquainted with Gujjar and others.

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Police statements differed significantly from Samad’s account. As he was being beaten up, he claimed that the accused forced him to chant the name of Hindu deity Ram, when he was “praying to Allah”. During the course of the conversation, the accused told him that they beat up Muslim men and showed him videos of Muslim men being beaten up. The police did not mention any of these things in their statement.

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