New Delhi: A team of cybersecurity experts, who have followed the issue of disfigured maps closely since 2018, have questioned the Uttar Pradesh Police’s action against Twitter calling it “selective targeting of Twitter”.
Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari has been booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with a case over a distorted map of India that wrongly showed the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir outside India. On Monday, Twitter removed the map.
So, is Twitter is the only one to have shown a disfigured map of India?
Cybersecurity expert Dinesh Bareja has a list of 14 cases which he has followed up with the government for action on those showing a disfigured map of India. He told India Today that the concerned department for disfigured maps is the International Boundary Directorate at Survey of India, New Delhi.
Bareja and 37 others have formed a WhatsApp group called Map of India-Disfigured. They file a complaint with the concerned agency whenever an issue is flagged.
“It’s surprising that distorted maps were even used at government events. On many occasions, even Indians were not aware of our map and used wrong maps on their websites and in their presentations.”
“Distorting our borders is not a small issue as our soldiers are dying fighting for it. The government should come up with a law to impose penalties and punish people who distort our maps,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.
“Till the time there is a law against it how can we send out a strong message. The insult of the national flag is prohibited under the Emblem Act.”
Notably, India’s premier defence research agency and a global e-commerce giant were issued notices after Bareja’s complaint.
“During a defence exposition, wrong map was shown in a presentation. The multinational company circulated a brochure at a summit that had a distorted map. Notices were issued to both by surveyor but we don’t know what happened after that,” Bareja told India Today.
According to the group, one major problem is that there are no relevant sections of the law to deal with such offences.
“According to news reports, Section 505 (2) of IPC and Section 74 of IT Act have been applied against Twitter. Section 505 (2) deals with statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred, or ill-will and Section 74 of the IT Act deals with a fraudulent digital signature. These are no specific provisions to deal with this offence,” Bhatia told India Today.
The experts said they were not against filing an FIR against Twitter but why only Twitter was being targeted.
“For once and all, the whole world should know that our map is what it is and you cannot chop it as per some other organisation or country’s convenience. There are several other organisations that are bigger than Twitter. Why action only against Twitter? The UNHRC is not showing J&K as part of our country on their website. Why no action against them,” asked the group.
How did it all begin for Bareja?
Bareja has been following up with agencies on this issue since 2018 as he feels that borders should be represented accurately.
It has not been an easy journey for Bareja. One of the Indian companies he was following up for displaying a wrong flag has filed a Rs 1 crore-defamation lawsuit against him.
“It only goes to show that people don’t care. All we ask people is to take our country’s border seriously,” Bareja told India Today.