Twitter’s India head summoned
Indian police have summoned Twitter's top local executive over a viral video on the site of a Muslim man being assaulted, with authorities accusing the US social media giant of stoking sectarian tensions.
The order comes as a battle rages between foreign tech giants and the Indian government over new rules on removing and identifying the authors of online material deemed illegal or inflammatory.
According to a notice served to Twitter on Thursday, managing director Manish Maheshwari must report to a police station and make a statement within a week.
The platform "let content go viral that promoted enmity between various communities in the state and country", Uttar Pradesh police said in the notice, seen by AFP.
Twitter declined to comment and the video was still available on the site yesterday.
Last month Indian police visited Twitter's offices after the firm labelled tweets by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesman as "manipulated media". The US company later accused authorities of "intimidation".
The video causing the furore shows an elderly Muslim man forcibly having his beard shaved off. Twitter users shared the footage and news reports that said the man was forced to chant "Jai Shri Ram" ("Hail Lord Ram"), a rallying cry for Hindu nationalists.
Police have said the incident was not a hate crime but a personal dispute and that the man was assaulted by both Hindu and Muslim men.
Earlier this week they filed a case against Twitter, three journalists, three members of the Congress party and the investigative news website The Wire. The preliminary charges include promoting enmity among communities, being party to a "criminal conspiracy" and spreading fake news.
Reporters Without Borders, echoing local rights groups, called on police to withdraw the "absurd" case, calling it "judicial harassment".