Altnews Co-Founder’s ‘Online Harassment’ Of Minor Girl: Child Commission Issues Summons To Senior Manager Of Twitter India 

Swati Goel Sharma

Aug 31, 2020, 12:32 PM | Updated 12:32 PM IST

Picture for representation 
Picture for representation 
  • In the summons issued by the commission to ‘Senior Manager Policy, Twitter India’, the commission has called the reply “not satisfactory”.
  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued summons to a senior manager of Twitter India for not taking adequate action in a case where a prominent Twitter handle allegedly subjected a minor girl to online harassment though a post.

    The user, Mohammed Zubair, who is co-founder of a “fact-checking” website named Altnews and has more than 1.4 lakh followers on Twitter, came under the scanner for a tweet posted on 6 August.

    Zubair, after indulging in an online spat with a Twitter handle, @JSINGH2252, went on to post the display picture used by the handle that showed him with a girl child, possibly his granddaughter. Zubair blurred the girl’s picture and wrote, “Hello Jagdish Singh, Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media?”

    Several users supporting Zubair then passed lewd remarks against the girl. Several handles also posted the non-blurred picture of the girl on their timeline with indecent remarks.

    (Read about the row over the tweet here.)

    The next day, a group called Forum for Indigenous Rights-North-East India, that tweets from the handle @fir_ne, complained to the commission against such tweets.

    The same day, the commission wrote to the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Delhi, Nodal Cyber Cell officer, for taking “lawful action in the matter”. The commission also wrote to Twitter India about it.

    The commission received a reply from Twitter India on 25 August. In the summons issued by the commission to ‘Senior Manager Policy, Twitter India’, the commission has called the reply “not satisfactory”.

    The summons says,

    “...on examining your letter dated 25th August, 2020 it was observed by the commission that the information provided by you is not satisfactory and also you have not informed about the action taken by you against the persons who has put the modesty of a child on risk.

    “…the commission strongly feels that you have completely failed to understand the motive and the matter of writing to you for seeking certain important information for conducting independent inquiry thereby indulging in obstruction of law.

    “Now, therefore the Commission in pursuance of its functions and powers u/s. 13 and 14 of the CPCR Act, 2005, is compelled to issue this Summons for you to appear in person before the Commission on 4th September, 2020…”

    The summons also reveals that Twitter India replied to the commission only after it had sent multiple reminders.

    Till the time of publishing this report, Zubair had neither deleted his tweet nor reacted to the commission’s letter.

    Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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