A Delhi-based lawyer Amit Acharya filed a criminal complaint against actor Swara Bhaskar, journalist Arfa Khanum, Twitter India Head Manish Maheswari, and Md Asif Khan on Wednesday, 16 June, for allegedly spreading fake news in the Loni case, in which an elderly Abdul Samad Saifi was brutally beaten and his beard was forcefully cut off.
The complaint was lodged at Delhi's Tilak Marg police station. An FIR is yet to be registered. Meanwhile, a probe has been launched by the police.
This comes a day after the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad filed an FIR against nine entities, including Twitter Inc, The Wire, Rana Ayyub, Mohammad Zubair, Dr Shama Mohammed, Saba Naqvi, Maskoor Usmani, and Salman Nizami.
The FIR said that they started “giving communal colour to the incident on Twitter and suddenly started spreading messages to disrupt the peace and bring differences between the religious communities.”
The Ghaziabad Police added Twitter to the FIR for having done nothing to prevent the video from getting viral.
In the complaint filed on Wednesday, the complainant claimed that Bhaskar, Khanum and Asif Khan, through their Twitter handles, got inspired from the incident and “started a propaganda to spread hate amongst the citizens”.
Acharya is seeking their prosecution under Indian Penal Code provisions relating to communal discord, provoking with intent to cause riot, outraging religious feelings of a group, etc.
He has said in his complaint, “Knowing the fact that their tweets have an impact in the society, they give communal colour to the incident without fact-checking the truthfulness of the incident,” The Indian Express reported.
He added, “The concerned tweets were floated across the social media with the motive of hampering peace and harmony amongst the religious groups.”
Acharya is also seeking an FIR against Twitter for its failure to remove the allegedly false tweets.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)