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Twitter India: FIR filed for ‘propagating child terrorism’

According to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Jammu and Kashmir police have been asked to lodge a criminal case against Twitter India over a video allegedly showing support for terrorism using children and the facilitation of recruitment among children in the union territory. According to the notice, a video showed a child with a gun, firing bullets into the air, and being encouraged by 4-5 men who ‘appear to be associated with a terrorist organization’ and are training the child for militant activities.

The complainant alleges that Twitter allows terror organizations like Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind supporters to recruit children to join terrorism against India. The complaint further states that the Twitter post has been tagged with different regions in J&K where terrorist activity is prevalent. In light of the apparent violation of children’s rights presented in the video, the child rights organization said that it is appropriate for it to take cognizance of the issue under Section 13(i)(j) of the Commission of Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

NCPCR’s observation was that a video widely distributed is promoting the use of children for terrorism in violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and they have also provided a link to a Telegram group promoting terrorism. According to the apex child rights body, Twitter’s policy enables children over the age of 15 to join illegal groups on Telegram, which has a negative impact on children.

By allowing such posts, Twitter violates the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 and Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Commission requested that a police report be filed against Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari and Twitter India Policy Manager Shagufta Kamran and that necessary steps be taken against them. Telegram was also targeted for necessary action. Earlier this week, the Delhi Police filed an FIR against Twitter for allegedly enabling access to child pornography.  The FIR has been filed under provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.

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A letter dated May 29 sent by the NCPCR to Delhi Police asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) to explain why no action had been taken against Twitter. NCPCR had requested the Delhi Police to book Twitter based on the findings of its recent investigation, which had found that child sexual abuse material (CSAM) was easily accessible on the platform.

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