Delhi Police arrests Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair: Here's why
Mohammed Zubair, a journalist and one of the founders of the fact-checking platform Alt News, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday, according to reports. The Delhi Police has apprehended him on the charges of allegedly promoting communal enmity as well as hurting religious sentiments, said the reports. Here are more details.
Zubair has been arrested by the Delhi Police under Sections 153 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), reported news agency ANI. While Section 153 pertains to "wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot," IPC Section 295A concerns "deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs," as per Indian Kanoon.
The Delhi Police on Monday summoned Zubair in connection with a separate case, but arrested him in the case related to hurting religious sentiments, Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha was quoted as saying by NDTV. Sinha also alleged the police did not provide the mandatory notice for Zubair's arrest. He also tweeted, "No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests."
Sinha tweeted a note, saying, "Zubair was called today by Special Cell, Delhi for investigation in a 2020 case for which he already had a protection against arrest from High Court." "However...at around 6:45pm we were told he has been arrested in some other FIR for which no notice was given which is mandatory...for the Sections under which he has been arrested," he added.
To recall, a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered against Zubair in August 2020. He was booked after he called out an abusive Twitter user and confronted them, as per reports. However, the Delhi High Court had granted protection from arrest to the Alt News co-founder in this case in September 2020.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has reportedly stated that Zubair was arrested only "after having sufficient evidence on record." The current case has been registered at the Special Cell Police Station, according to DCP KPS Malhotra. Zubair will be "produced before the magistrate for seeking further remand for the purpose of the investigation of the case," added Malhotra.
ANI quoted Delhi Police officials as saying the current case was registered based on a complaint by Twitter user Hanuman Bhakt (@balajikijaiin) over Zubair's alleged tweet against Lord Hanuman. Zubair posted an image of a hotel signboard, saying, "BEFORE 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014: Hanuman Hotel." Twitter user Hanuman Bhakt urged cops to take action as Zubair's tweet was a "direct insult of Hindus."