Alt News co-founder held for four-year-old Twitter post 

Journalist and AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair.

Journalist and AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair. | Photo Credit: Twitter/@Jairam_Ramesh

Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was on Monday arrested by the Delhi Police’s IFSO unit in connection with an “objectionable tweet” he had posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity, officers said.

The arrest quickly resulted in a strong political backlash with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeting in his support: “Every person exposing BJP’s hate, bigotry and lies is a threat to them. Arresting one voice of truth will only give rise to a thousand more. Truth ALWAYS triumphs over tyranny #DaroMat”.

Other senior Congress leaders such as Shashi Tharoor and Supriya Shrinate and Oposition leaders like Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien also spoke out against the arrest. “Strongly condemn the arrest of one of the world’s finest journalists who exposes the BJP’s #FakeNews factory every single day,” Mr. O’Brien tweeted.

Digipub, an association of online news organisations, of which Alt News is also a member, was also quick to condemn Mr. Zubair’s arrest in the “strongest possible terms” and issued a statement in this regard.

Mr. Zubair has been at the forefront of reporting on hate speech and was the first one to point out suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma's derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad during a TV news debate, which resulted in widespread outrage, the suspension of Ms. Sharma and several FIRs against her.


Advocate Kawalpreet Kaur, who represented Mr. Zubair in the remand hearing, said he was produced before Patiala House court Duty Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Narwal in a makeshift court at his apartment complex’s garage in Burari around 10.30 p.m.

The Delhi Police sought his custody for seven days, arguing that he was not cooperating with their investigation. Mr. Narwal heard the arguments and granted the police Mr. Zubair’s custody for one day.

Advocate Kaur said they had moved a bail application in the instant case before the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate, who dismissed it before granting the police custody of Mr. Zubair for one day.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO), Special Cell, K.P.S Malhotra said Mr. Zubair was called to the IFSO’s Dwarka office on Monday in connection with a POCSO (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) case lodged against him in 2020 wherein he had allegedly harassed a minor girl on Twitter.

In this case, the Delhi Police had already submitted before a court that Mr. Zubair’s tweet was not found to be objectionable.

They said that in this case, other tweets in the subsequent thread of replies were “derogatory and questionable”, adding their probe in this case was nearly over.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 9:37:47 am |