Journalist Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews was arrested by Delhi Police on charges of ‘promoting enmity and hurting religious sentiments”.
The police filed a new case against him and recorded his arrest. The arrest has been registered by the special cell station IFSO (Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations) of the Delhi Police, which deals with cyber crimes, including those against women and children. TNM has learned that you have been arrested under section 153 (deliberate provocation with the intent to cause a disturbance) and section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any kind by insulting your religion or religious beliefs).
“Zubair was called today by special cell, Delhi for investigation in a 2020 case for which he already had a protection against arrest from High Court. However, today at around 6.45pm we were told he has been arrested in some other FIR for which no notice was given which is mandatory under law for the Sections under which he has been arrested. Nor FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests,” Sinha tweeted.
AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha said Mohammed Zubair was called to Delhi for questioning in a different case but arrested after this case was filed at the spot.
Who is Mohammad Zubair
Mohammad Zubair is the co-founder of Alt News, an Indian fact-finding website co-founded by former software engineer Pratik Sinha, a trained physicist, lawyer and human rights activist. Zubair and Sinha founded the Alt News website on February 9, 2017 to counter the trend of fake news. The Alt News team has also written a book, India Miss Informed: The True Story, published by HarperCollins and released in March 2019.
The fact-checker has been criticized by Hindu citizens for making hate speeches by Yeti Narsingh Nand, Mahant Bajrang Mani and Anand Swaroop.
The Hindu leaders whom Zubair called hate speech are known for making provocative and objectionable remarks against Muslims, and Yeti Narasimhanand was also jailed in a hate speech case and later released on bail.
The FIR has been registered on the complaint of Bhagwan Sharan, who heads the Sitapur unit of the Hindu Sher Sena. “This complaint is about hurting our religious sentiments by using insulting words against our Dharma stall workers, which is a sign of our faith. On May 27, I saw on Twitter that Muhammad Zubair had joined the Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena. Zubair had also insulted Hindu Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop.
“He (Zubair) has deliberately tried to spread hatred in the society and incite Muslims and hurt the feelings of Hindus under a conspiracy. His actions have angered us Hindus. He also alleged in the complaint. Zubair is said to have “incited Muslims to assassinate Hindu leaders”.
While Zubair did not want to comment on the FIR, Pratak Sinha, editor-in-chief of Alt News, said it was a clear example of “selective targeting”. Regarding the allegations that Zubair is inciting people and spreading hatred, Sinha said, “A cursory glance at Zubair’s timeline on social media will be enough to show that Zubair never has a hateful or divisive agenda. Do not promote His work is journalistic in that he tweets about hate speech and misinformation.
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