One of the owners of the fact-checking website Alt News, Mohammed Zubair, has detained by the Delhi Police today on allegations of inciting hatred and hurting religious feelings. He has to spend a day in police custody.
The complaint submitted by a Twitter user earlier this month, who alleged that Zubair had tweeted a questionable image with the objective to purposefully disrespect the god of a certain faith, is said to be the origin of the investigation, according to officials. Zubair sent out that tweet in March 2018.
Supporters demands arrest for Nupur Sharma
Soon after Zubair’s arrest politicians, actors and several news reporters started demanding arrest of Nupur Sharma, who was suspended by the BJP for her comments against the Prophet Muhammad. During a tv show, Sharma had insulted the Prophet.
Leaders of the Trinamool had already criticised the saffron party’s hypocrisy. Trinamool leaders have stated that the BJP is keen to take action against the leaders of other parties on various justifications but keeps quiet when it comes to the leaders of its own party.
What does the police say in Zubair’s case?
Police confirmed that Zubair was first being questioned in a previous incident, but was later taken into custody in the more recent case because there was enough evidence to support it. It is understood that he is still being questioned and that police will request additional custody by bringing him before a magistrate tomorrow.
In the first incident from 2020, a girl said she was harassed on Twitter.. After Zubair reposted the man’s profile picture with his granddaughter, he obscured her face to attract attention to the man’s aggressive online behaviour. The police have already informed the court that no legal action is being taken against Zubair regarding the tweet.
Top leaders who come in support
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, criticised the BJP government and tweeted against the detention. In his tweet he claimed that suppressing one voice of truth would only inspire a thousand others.
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 pic.twitter.com/hIUuxfvq6s
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 27, 2022
MP Shashi Tharoor referred to Zubair’s arrest as an attack on the truth and requested that he should be released, claiming that Alt News offers an essential service.
India’s few fact-checking services, especially @AltNews, perform a vital service in our post-truth political environment, rife with disinformation. They debunk falsehoods whoever perpetrates them. To arrest @zoo_bear is an assault on truth. He should be released immediately.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) June 27, 2022
Another Congress MP, Jairam Ramesh, complained that the Delhi police behaved in a vindictive manner, as AltNews exposed the government’s false allegations.
Hypocrisy is the middle name of Vishguru! pic.twitter.com/ytpQAMUfhF
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) June 28, 2022
UP Ex-CM Akhilesh Yadav posted this in support:
अच्छे नहीं लगते हैं उन झूठ के सौदागरों को सच की पड़ताल करने वाले… जिन्होंने अपनी आस्तीन में हैं पाले, नफ़रत का ज़हर उगलने वाले pic.twitter.com/JY7NlaCGUM
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) June 27, 2022
This is really the lunatic fringe. @zoo_bear arrested on suo moto complaint filed by SI Special cell Delhi Police On 20/6/22 for 2018 tweet by @zoo_bear where he retweeted photo from Hrishikesh Mukherjee 1983 movie!
Time for all hanumans to check into a honeymoon hotel. pic.twitter.com/Qx7RgmhLWH
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) June 27, 2022
— Waris Pathan (@warispathan) June 27, 2022