The fact-checking news website AltNews was co-founded by Mohammeb Zubair. In 2017, he and software engineer Pratik Sinha established AltNews. He is the one who brought attention to the disparaging comments made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, which sparked a significant uproar across the globe and the party had to expel Nupur Sharma.
Why is Mohammed Zubair trending across the media?
Following a complaint from a social media user who cited a tweet from 2018, the Delhi Police’s cyber unit detained Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of the fact-checking website AltNews, on Monday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. According to Delhi police, the complaint against Mohammed Zubair was made under IPC sections 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153-A (raising hostility between different groups). After one-day remand in police custody, he will be appearing in a court on Tuesday for a bail hearing.
This is the controversial Tweet by Mohammad Zubair, the reason behind this entire controversy:
Recently an FIR was lodged against Zubair in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by labelling Yati Narsinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni ‘Udasin’ and Swami Anand Swarup as “hatemongers” on Twitter. AltNews co-founder and Zubair’s partner Pratik Sinha, in a Tweet, quoted:
“Zubair was called today by a special cell, Delhi for investigation in a 2020 case for which he already had a protection against arrest from the High Court. However, today at around 6.45 PM we were told he has been arrested in some other FIR for which no notice was given which is mandatory under law for the sections under which he has been arrested. No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests.”
Since Zubair’s arrest, #IStandWithZubair is trending number one on Twitter. Several opposition leaders including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and MP Shashi Tharoor condemned the arrest of Mohammed Zubair. In a Tweet, Rahul Gandhi quoted:
“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”
YouTuber Dhruv Rathee also questioned Zubair’s arrest. In a Tweet, Dhruv Rathee quoted,
“According to Delhi Police, Zubair is arrested because an anonymous Twitter account with 1 follower complained that his sentiments are hurt.
But Komal Sharma couldn’t be arrested despite video evidence of violence. What a joke this whole system is!”
The BJP-led Central government is being criticised by various opposition parties including the Left parties, TMC, RJD, AIMIM, and Congress for cracking down on people who “expose its hate speech and propaganda”. While Zubair will be appearing in a court on Tuesday, his arrest has once again ignited a never ending battle between the Central government and the opposition.