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Alt News’ Zubair sent to one-day police custody after being arrested for a tweet

Political Arrest
On June 20, a case was registered against Zubair on charges of promoting enmity between different groups and hurting religious sentiments, over a tweet from 2018.
Alt news co-founder Mohammed Zubair, who was arrested on Monday, June 28, has been sent to one-day police custody by a magistrate in New Delhi. Zubair was produced before duty magistrate Ajay Narwal in a makeshift court at an apartment complex’s garage in Burari at 10.30 pm, according to reports. HIs counsel had contended that he was cooperating with the investigation and added that there was no reason for the police to take him into custody.
On June 20, a case against Zubair was registered under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language etc.) and 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), KPS Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell), said.
However, the FIR suggests that the case was registered within three hours of a tweet on June 19 at 11 pm, by an account that had just one follower at the time. Arun Kumar, the Investigating Officer, said in the contents of the FIR that he spotted the tweet and filed an FIR within three hours, by 2 am.
The Delhi police in a statement said that they were alerted by a Twitter user with the name “Hanuman Bhakt” and handle “@balajikijaiin” that Zubair had made an ‘objectionable tweet’. The police claimed in their statement that Zubair was being summoned in connection with a complaint regarding a tweet, however they found it was not objectionable. But during the course of the investigation, they were alerted about another tweet, which was objectionable and led to the arrest.
Read: Alt News’ Zubair summoned by Delhi cops in 2020 case, but arrested for a tweet
As Zubair was booked, many also pointed out that the ‘offensive content’ is an unedited screenshot of a scene from a movie titled Kissi Se Na Kehna. The 1983 film was directed by veteran Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

That honeymoon/hanuman joke is an unedited screenshot from a 1983 movie – Kissi Se Na Kehna, directed by legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Watch the scene here-https://t.co/IB6dT65Mon
— Pyaar Se Mario (@SquareGas) June 27, 2022

Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha alleged that Zubair was arrested in a case for which no notice was given by the police, which is mandatory under law for the sections under which he has been held.
“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, 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 section under which he has been arrested. Nor FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests,” Sinha said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Opposition leaders, including former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over Zubair’s arrest. “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 (sic),” Gandhi said in a tweet.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O’Brien also condemned the journalist’s arrest. “Strongly condemn the arrest of one of the world’s finest journalists @zoo_bear who exposes the BJP’s #FakeNews factory every single day. PM @narendramodi and @AmitShah for all the power you wield, you are essentially COWARDS (sic),” the Rajya Sabha MP wrote on Twitter.
TMC’s Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra, in a tweet, said, “Delhi Police bending over backwards to please sahibs and thumb nose at law. @zoo_bear arrested on trumped up case w/o notice while assisting in case where HC given him protection. While Ms. Fringe Sharma enjoys life of protection at tax payer expense for EXACT same offences (sic).”
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha alleged that delivering hate speeches is not a crime but reporting and exposing such speeches are criminal activities and that is why Zubair has been arrested. “…And Irony dies hundred deaths…The great LEADER invokes #Emergency in the land of #ThirdReich and allows dissent in any form to be killed at home (sic),” Jha said in a tweet.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi also condemned Zubair’s arrest.
Read: ‘An assault on truth’: Journalists, politicians condemn Alt News co-founder Zubair’s arrest
(With PTI inputs)

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