Police had argued that Mohammed Zubair is a “serial offender” and needed to interrogated in other similar cases too
New Delhi: Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair was arrested for a 2018 tweet, and sent to police custody for 4 days.
Zubair’s attorney, Vrinda Grover, claimed that the co-founder of the AltNews website was being “maliciously targeted” and that the case as a whole “borders on ridiculousness.” In opposition to Zubair’s defense team, the prosecution contended that Zubair ought to be placed under police remand because of his “intentional act of outraging religious emotions was on record.” Zubair allegedly “used provocative tweets to offend religious emotions in an effort to achieve recognition,” according to the Delhi police, who testified in court. After a day in police custody had passed, Zubair was brought before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Savaria.
In response to a complaint made by a social media user who cited a tweet from 2018, the Delhi Police’s cyber squad detained Zubair on Monday on suspicion of allegedly hurting religious emotions. According to the police, they reported Zubair for violating IPC sections 295-A and 153-A (which promote animosity between various groups) in connection with the complaint (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings). According to police officials, the case’s complainant uses the Twitter handle Hanuman Bhakt and has a picture of Lord Hanuman as his profile photo. The handle has more than 400 followers as of Monday night.
Harassment and arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders for tirelessly seeking truth and justice have become alarmingly commonplace in India, Amnesty India said on Tuesday, demanding immediate and unconditional release of fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair.
Aakar Patel, chair of board for Amnesty International India, said the Indian authorities are targeting Zubair for his crucial work to combat the rise in fake news and disinformation and call out discrimination against minorities.
“The arrest of Mohammed Zubair shows the danger facing human rights defenders in India has reached a crisis point,” Patel said in a statement.
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