Separate FIRs have been lodged in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh against senior officials of Twitter India over a distorted map of the country, showing J&K and Ladakh outside India, that appeared on the social media platform.
While Bulandshahr police lodged an FIR against Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari and another official at Khurja Nagar police station on Monday evening, the case in MP was registered on Tuesday evening, hours after state Home Minister Narottam Mishra stated that it is “a serious issue concern…and going on for a long time”.
Mishra told the media, “Sometimes something is said against Bharat Mata, and at times a wrong map of the country is displayed on Twitter. These issues cannot be taken lightly. The governments at the Centre and the state have taken it seriously. I have asked the DGP to investigate the matter and subsequently book a case in the matter.”
The map has been removed by Twitter.
The case in MP was registered on a complaint by Durgesh Keswani, who claimed to be part of social organisation ‘Sadhbaona Aadhikar Manch’. “Twitter is playing with sentiments of people; it crossed its limit when it issued a distorted map of the country showing Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir as part of another country,” Keswani said.
The FIR was registered under IPC section 505(2) [statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes].
In Bulandshar, the FIR was registered on a complaint by Praveen Bhati, an advocate and Bajrang Dal’s western UP region co-convenor.
Besides Maheshwari, Twitter India’s News Partnership head Amrita Tripathi has also been made an accused in the case. Circle Officer, Khurja, Suresh Kumar said the FIR was lodged under IPC section 505 (2). Police also invoked 74 of IT Act.
Bhati told The Indian Express that on Monday afternoon he found the world map in ‘Tweep Life’ section under ‘Careers’ on Twitter showing J&K and Ladakh outside India. “I was hurt and decided to get a case lodged against officials of Twitter. I collected names of Twitter officials posted in India from different sources and got the case lodged against them,” he said.
He said the distorted map was not uploaded by chance but is meant to mislead the world.
There has been no arrest in the case so far.
Notably, Twitter has lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.