Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair punished for speaking the truth: Opposition parties

Fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair. File

Fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu Photo Library

Opposition parties reacted sharply to the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair, calling out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre for its hypocrisy since the arrest came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the “2022 Resilient Democracies Statement” at the G7 summit, committing to “protect freedom of expression and opinion online and offline”.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that Mr. Zubair had been arrested for exposing the BJP’s hate, bigotry and lies. Mr. Gandhi tweeted: “Arresting one voice of truth will only give rise to a thousand more. The truth ALWAYS triumphs over tyranny.” At a press conference on Tuesday, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said that while perpetrators of hate were receiving political patronage, those who reported such hate were being jailed.

Going a step further, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi said that there was a threat to Mr. Zubair’s life since the Delhi Police was not following established procedures.

Mr. Owaisi tweeted: “He’s been arrested with no notice & in some unknown FIR. Total violation of due process. @DelhiPolice does nothing about anti-Muslim genocidal slogans but acts swiftly against “crime” of reporting hate speech and countering misinformation.”

Opposition leaders have also called for Mr. Zubair’s immediate release.

Also read | Zubair’s arrest a violation of rights, abuse of power: Amnesty

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the arrest clearly showed the Modi government is “insecure and threatened by anyone who exposes its hate machine of misinformation”. Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D. Raja said that the arrest exposed the duplicity of the government that extends patronage to hate-mongers even if their comments caused global outrage. He added, “Young journalists like Mohammed Zubair, who are working to protect the scientific temper of the country, are behind bars. Condemnable!”

The timing of the arrest, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj K. Jha said, is ironic. “The great LEADER invokes #Emergency in the land of #ThirdReich & allows dissent in any form to be killed at home,” he tweeted.

The Trinamool Congress issued an official statement condemning the arrest. In a strongly-worded tweet from the party’s official handle, the TMC said, “It is much easier to cry foul when someone not from your own party is allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Arrest @NupurSharmaBJP, and show the country that the same rules apply to all. The rule of law is not for you to tamper with @BJP4India!”

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 5:38:25 pm |