Journalist Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, was arrested by Delhi police on charges of “promoting enmity and hurting religious sentiments”.
Earlier this month an FIR was registered against him under IPC Section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings).
“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 6.45 pm 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.
Who is Mohammed Zubair?
Mohammad Zubair is a co-founder of the fact-checking website AltNews, which he co-founded with former software engineer Pratik Sinha. Zubair and Sinha founded the AltNews website in 2017 to combat fake news.
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.
According to Delhi Police’s DCP KPS Malhotra, he has been arrested due to sufficient evidence on record. He was produced before the duty magistrate seeking his remand. Delhi Police has issued a statement saying that a case was registered against Mohammad Zubair following a complaint received on the Twitter handle.
According to the complaint, Mohammad Zubair had intentionally posted the picture with the intention of insulting a religion. Others started sharing such tweets on social media, due to which there was a possibility of disturbing harmony and disturbing public peace.
His role in this case was found to be objectionable and he also did not cooperate in the investigation. For the investigation of this case, he needed to be interrogated by keeping him in custody, so he has been arrested and presented in the court.
Earlier, in one of his Twitter posts, Mohammad Zubair had called Yeti Narasimhanand Saraswati, Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop as ‘Hate Mangar’.
After this, a case was registered against Zubair under section 295A at Khairabad police station in Uttar Pradesh on the complaint of a member of Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena.
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