Ghaziabad case: Twitter India head gets court relief till Monday

Twitter India chief Manish Maheshwari has been granted temporary protection from arrest by Uttar Pradesh Police by order of the Karnataka High Court, and does not have to travel to that state for questioning in connection with a case about tweets about the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad.

Maheshwari’s writ petition challenged the legal notice issued by the Ghaziabad Police to Maheshwari under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Police officers are empowered to arrest a person without warrant in a cognisable case under this section.

The matter was heard by Justice G Narendar.

During the hearing, Twitter’s lawyer said Maheshwari was just an employee of the organisation and had nothing to do with the case. “I have nothing to do with the offence, I am only a platform,” Live Law quoted lawyer as saying.

Meanwhile, the UP police had asked him to appear at the police station for questioning by 10.30 am on Thursday or face action.

The notice by cops also summoned Twitter India’s Resident Grievance Officer Dharmendra Chatur to the police station. It said Maheshwari and Chatur were responsible for the activities on the micro blogging site.

“You could not remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities,” the notice said “You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them.”

Maheshwari told the High Court that he had informed the police that he is in Bengaluru and cannot travel to Uttar Pradesh. “Even Supreme Court has said that statement can be recorded through VC. But the police officer wants my personal presence there.”

Apart from Twitter India, the Uttar Pradesh police have filed a case against The Wire, journalists Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammad Zubair and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Masqoor Usmani and Sama Mohammad.

In the case against Rana, the Bombay High Court on June 21 granted her protection from arrest for four weeks.

The Karnataka High Court has issued a notice on a plea filed by Zubair seeking transit bail. The High Court also noted that Zubair, who is also the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, did not need transit bail as there was no apprehension of arrest.

After a video of the Hindu youths’ horrific assault on a 72-year-old elderly Muslim Abdul Samad in Ghaziabad went viral on social media, many including politicians, activists and celebrities took to Twitter to register their protest against ongoing anti-Muslim violence in Uttar Pradesh.

In the video of the incident, a group of men can be seen brutally thrashing the 72-year-old Abdul Samad. It also showed them forcefully cut his beard using a scissor. Samad told Maktoob that the Hindu men offered him an auto ride, took him to an isolated spot and beat him up, forcing him to chant Jai Shri Ram and sing Vande Mataram.

Following a large scale outrage in social media against the latest Islamophobia attack in Uttar Pradesh, the Ghaziabad police have ruled out any anti-Muslim angle in the incident.

Three people have so far been arrested for allegedly assaulting the elderly man, Abdul Samad.

The arrested accused have been identified as Parvesh Gujjar, Kallu and Aadil.

However in a bizarre incident, Ghaziabad police have arrested a Muslim youth Aadil who “rushed to the scene to rescue Abdul Samad” from assailants.

Two other Muslim men Aarif and Mushahid were also named in the FIR.

Aadil’s brother Mohammad Sajid told Maktoob that Aadil was innocent of the charges against him.

“Aadil and his friends received a call informing them that Samad was being assaulted by Pravesh Gujjar and others. They rushed to the scene to rescue him” Sajid told Maktoob, while on his way to the court to challenge the false allegations against Aadil.