A police case has been filed against a senior Facebook executive, Ankhi Das, and two other users in Chhattisgarh for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments and inciting people, police said on Tuesday.
Ankhi Das has been at the centre of the controversy after the report in US publication Wall Street Journal that said Facebook has ignored divisive content and hate speech posted by right-wing leaders. As per the WSJ, Ankhi Das was the executive behind the policy.
The case was lodged at Kabir Nagar police station late Monday night based on the complaint of Awesh Tiwari, a Raipur-based journalist of a news channel, Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Yadav told PTI.
Three persons, identified as Ankhi Das from New Delhi, Ram Sahu from Mungeli (Chhattisgarh) and Vivek Sinha from Indore (Madhya Pradesh), were booked. An investigation is underway and further action will be taken accordingly, the official said.
The three have been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 295(a) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505(1)(c) (with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit offence against any other class or community), 506 (criminal intimidation), 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention), he said.
The FIR has been registered a day after Ankhi Das has filed a complaint in New Delhi alleging threats to life since the report was published and also seek police protection.
Interestingly, the complainant Awesh Tiwari was also named in the FIR filed by Das.
According to the FIR, Tiwari in his complaint said that on August 16, he put up a post on his Facebook account related to an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
Tiwari in his police complaint said, “Two Facebook users, with names Sahu and Sinha, jumped in to defend Das and commented on his (Tiwari”s) post that she (Das) is a Hindu and she is talking in the interest of the faith. Sahu allegedly posted derogatory and communally sensitive photographs and also threatened him.”
Tiwari also said he had been receiving threat messages and calls on WhatsApp after his post.
He alleged that Das, Sahu and Sinha were trying to defame him by spreading religious hatred due to which his life is under threat and he is living in constant fear.
Tiwari has submitted to police screenshots of the threat messages received on his mobile phone.
The WSJ reported that Facebook refused to apply hate speech rules to certain BJP politicians, while the social media giant has asserted that its policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation.
The 49-year-old Ankhi Das had said in her complaint that the threats have been started coming since the article published by the Wall Street Journal last week claimed that Facebook overlooks hate speech by the BJP leaders.
She demanded immediate arrest of the five people she has named and also sought police protection.
(With inputs from PTI)