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Twitter India Chief

Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwar/Image via NDTV

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Twitter India officials booked in UP over distorted India map


New Delhi: The police in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr district have lodged an FIR against two senior officials of Twitter India over the social media platform putting up a distorted map of India.

The FIR was lodged at the Khurja Nagar police station on Monday evening on the basis of a complaint by an office-bearer of right wing Bajrang Dal.

"The world map does not show Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir as parts of India. This is not a coincidence. This act has hurt the sentiments of Indians, including me," Bajrang Dal's western UP convenor Praveen Bhati said in the complaint.

The FIR names Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari and News Partnerships Head Amrita Tripathi as accused who have been booked under Indian Penal Code section 505 (2) (public mischief).

According to a PTI report, charges under Information Technology Act section 74 (publication for fraudulent purpose) have also been invoked in the case, in the FIR.

The map that appeared on the "Tweep Life" section of Twitter's website showed J&K and Ladakh outside India. The distorted map was flagged by a Twitter user and has since generated many angry reactions and demands for punishment.

Later, Twitter removed that map on Monday evening. In the past, Twitter had shown Leh as a part of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as a part of China.

"Twitter is confirming by its actions the apprehensions expressed widely in the last few months about its bias towards Indian interests and sensitivities. Twitter's mischievous representation of Indian Map is strongly condemned. Twitter has to follow law of land!" - tweeted BJP leader P Muralidhar Rao.

Earlier, Twitter had flagged "freedom of expression" concerns while responding to the new rules, which include appointing India-based compliance officers.

As it was slow to respond to the government's warnings on complying with the rules, there were questions about Twitter losing legal protection against user-generated content.

On May 31, Twitter told the Delhi High Court that it was appointing Dharmendra Chatur, partner at a law firm that represented Twitter as its interim grievance redressal officer. However, the government said it could not accept the appointment of outsiders to statutory posts.

Yesterday, Dharmendra Chatur quit, weeks after his appointment. Twitter has now appointed its US-bsaed Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel as the grievance officer for India. The new rules, however, require an Indian resident for the role.

In a series of run-ins with Twitter, the government has also asked the site to remove the "manipulated media" tag from tweets posted by several BJP leaders on an alleged Congress "toolkit".

As Twitter refused to do so, the Delhi Police also served notices, visited its offices in Delhi and Gurgaon, and questioned Twitter India chief Manish Maheshwari in Bengaluru.

Recently, the police in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh summoned Mr Maheshwari for failing to stop the spread of a video that allegedly was aimed at inciting religious discord.

On Friday, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's Twitter account was briefly locked, allegedly over copyright violations. The minister said he was denied access to his account for more than an hour over complaints that he violated copyright law by posting clips of himself from television debates.

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TAGS:Twitter kashmir Ladakh 
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