Journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday evening on charges of hurting religious sentiments under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Many journalists and activists have been demanding his immediate release.
Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, has refused to hand over the electronic gadgets used by him in 2018 when he had posted the allegedly offensive tweet that has landed him in jail. Zubair has challenged the Delhi Police team probing the matter to recover the device used to post the tweet from his home in Bengaluru. He claimed that he lost the mobile handset used by him at that time.
Earlier this month, a case against Zubair was registered under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language, etc.) and 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), K P S Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell), said. Zubair was produced before a magistrate, who sent him to police custody for a day.
Another officer said the journalist was evasive on questions and neither provided the necessary technical equipment for the purpose of the investigation nor cooperated in the investigation. He added during the investigation, Zubair’s conduct was found questionable, which warranted his custodial interrogation to unravel conspiracy in this matter.
However, Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Alt News, shared a tweet, saying Zubair was called by the special cell, Delhi, for investigation in a 2020 case for which he already had a protection from the high court. “However, 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,” he said. Pratik further said no copy of the FIR was given to them despite repeated requests.
Please note. pic.twitter.com/gMmassggbx— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) June 27, 2022
The Alt News co-founder was arrested in connection with one of his recent tweets that had a questionable image with the purpose of deliberately insulting the god of a particular religion, the DCP said.
A Delhi court sent Zubair to one-day police remand after rejecting his bail plea. Police are likely to seek three more days’ custody of Zubair to recover his mobile phone from his Bengaluru home.
Who is Zubair?
A prominent Indian journalist, Mohammad Zubair started the fact-checking website AltNews with former engineer Pratik Sinha in 2017. Fact checks from AltNews are frequently shared by Mr. Zubair on Twitter where he has over half a million followers. Last week, Mr. Zubair posted an e-mail from Twitter saying the microblogging site had received a request from the government claiming that his account had violated Indian laws. He later received another e-mail saying his tweets on provocative comments made by a Hindu group had been withheld in India under the country’s IT laws.
Leave a Reply