A map of India on the career section of the Twitter website under the header 'Tweep Life', had shown the Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir outside India.

Twitter India Head Manish Maheshwari stands against an illustrated wall
news Controversy Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 09:51

Twitter India Managing Director has been booked in another case registered by the Uttar Pradesh police, this time over the social media platform putting up a distorted map of India. The police in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr district have lodged an FIR against Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari and News Partnerships Head Amrita Tripathi, both named as accused and booked under Indian Penal Code section 505 (2) (public mischief). The map in question, which appeared on the career section of Twitter website under the header 'Tweep Life', had shown the Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir outside India, triggering outrage on social media. Twitter removed that map on Monday evening.

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. Charges under Information Technology Act section 74 (publication for fraudulent purpose) have also been invoked in the case, according to the FIR, seen by PTI.

"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.

This is the second case filed against the Twitter India MD. He had earlier been summoned by the Ghaziabad police in connection with its probe into the viral video of an elderly Muslim man being attacked on camera. Maheshwari had moved the Karnataka High Court for relief and the court had restrained the Ghaziabad police from initiating any coercive action against Manish Maheshwari till June 29. On Tuesday, June 28, the Uttar Pradesh government moved the Supreme Court against the relief granted to the Twitter MD.

Also read: Karnataka HC grants interim relief to Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari

Earlier, Twitter had drawn similar criticism for showing Leh as part of China. In October last year, Twitter faced backlash after its geotagging feature displayed "Jammu & Kashmir, People's Republic of China" in a live broadcast from Leh's Hall of Fame, a war memorial for fallen soldiers in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country's new IT rules, despite repeated reminders. Even in the backdrop of heightened strained relations with the Indian government, Twitter on Friday, June 25, briefly blocked IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from accessing his account over alleged violation of US copyright law — a move that was immediately slammed by the minister as being arbitrary and in gross violation of IT rules.

Meanwhile, Twitter's interim grievance officer for India, Dharmendra Chatur, has quit within weeks of taking over the key role.

California-based Jeremy Kessel has now been named as India's grievance redressal officer, on the platform's website - although the appointment does not meet the requirements of new IT rules, which clearly mandate key officers including the grievance officer, to be resident in India. 

Twitter and the government have been at loggerheads over multiple instances in the past months, including during the farmers' protest and later when the microblogging platform tagged political posts of several leaders of the ruling party BJP as "manipulated media", triggering a sharp rebuke from the Union government.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.