Mohammed Zubair, sent to Police custody for 4 days, for a Tweet he posted in 2018 disrespecting Hindu beliefs
According to a network of news sources, Mohammed Zubair of Alt News has been charged with disrespecting Hindu religious beliefs on Twitter.
Reporters and leaders of the opposition have protested the arrest.
They claimed it was a clear effort on the part of the Hindu-nationalist government to crack down on those who report hate speech.
Mr. Zubair recently drew attention to alleged insults to the Prophet Muhammad made by a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) spokesperson during a television debate. His tweet received a lot of attention, and other Muslim nations protested India vehemently as a result.
According to prominent Delhi police officials quoted by the ANI news agency, Mr. Zubair was held on Monday following a complaint from a Twitter account alleging he insulted Hindus in a 2018 tweet remarking on the renaming of a hotel after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman.
In a later statement, the police claimed that Mr. Zubair’s Twitter followers had magnified the remark, which had “generated a series of debates/hate mongering.”
Police assert that after conducting their investigation, Mr. Zubair’s actions were “questionable” and “needed his custodial interrogation.”
He was brought to the police by Pratik Sinha, a co-founder of AltNews, who said neither he nor Mr. Zubair’s attorneys had a copy of the complaint that led to the arrest.
Additionally, they weren’t initially informed of his whereabouts after being arrested.
Late on Monday night, Mr. Zubair was brought before a local court, who gave the police custody of him for one day. He was then given the go-ahead to meet with his lawyer.
His immediate release has been demanded by numerous journalists and campaign groups.
“Zubair who routinely busted fake news, exposed the hate machinery in India has just been arrested,” said Rana Ayyub, a Muslim journalist. “The country is punishing those who reported, documented the decline.”
Opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “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.”