FIR against Twitter India head in UP for displaying map with J&K, Ladakh outside India

The Uttar Pradesh Police have booked Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari for a map showing the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as separate from India, NDTV reported.

The map, which appeared on the career section of the Twitter website under the header “Tweep Life”, was removed on Monday night after outrage on social media.

A first information report was filed after a complaint by Hindutva group Bajrang Dal leader Praveen Bhati in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district. Amrita Tripathi, the head of news partnerships, Twitter India, has also been booked in the case filed under Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and Section 74 of IT (Amendment) Act 2008.

“This act of treason has been committed intentionally and action should be taken,” the complaint said. “This act has hurt the sentiments of Indians, including me.”

This is the second FIR against Twitter amid a dispute between the social media giant and the Bharatiya Janata Party government on compliance with new information technology rules.

Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Police had asked Maheshwari to appear at the police station for questioning by 10.30 am on Thursday or face action in a case related to tweets about the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad district. The company has been booked for “intent to a riot, promoting enmity and criminal conspiracy” for not removing what authorities called as misleading tweets.

On June 24, the Karnataka High Court said the Uttar Pradesh Police cannot take any coercive action against Maheshwari. The matter will be again heard on Tuesday.

Maheshwari has also filed a caveat in the Supreme Court, anticipating an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh Police against the relief granted to him by the High Court, reported the Hindustan Times. He has urged the Supreme Court to hear him before passing any order.

On June 25, Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Twitter had denied him access to his account for almost an hour, saying he had violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Prasad said the social media company had violated the IT rules, which mandate that an intermediary must notify a user before temporarily denying him access to his account.

The new information technology rules which were announced in February and became effective in May are framed to regulate social media companies, streaming and digital news content, virtually bringing them, for the first time, under the ambit of government supervision.

In May, the government had also criticised Twitter’s decision to label a tweet by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra as “manipulated media”. Then, On June 5, Twitter had briefly removed the blue check mark from the personal handle of India’s Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. This blue tick, displayed on a user’s profile, is viewed as an indicator of legitimacy.

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