Many including Opposition leaders, journalists and rights activists and thousands of social media users are calling for Alt News co-founder and journalist Mohammed Zubair to be immediately released.
Zubair, one of the founders of fact-checking website AltNews, was arrested by the Delhi Police today on charges of hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity.
The case is based on a complaint made by a right-wing Twitter handle ‘@balajikijaiin’ this month, alleging that Zubair had tweeted a “questionable” image to “deliberately insult the god of a particular religion”, police said.
AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha said Zubair was called to Delhi for questioning in a different case from 2020, in which the court has given him protection against arrest. But he was arrested in this new case instead, without mandatory notice, Sinha said. “No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests.”
The Muslim journalist has been under attack from Hindu nationalists for calling out hate speech by several Hindu monks and Hindutva politicians including Yati Narsinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni, Anand Swaroop and Nupur Sharma.
Congress former chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted against the arrest and criticised the BJP government. “Arresting one voice of truth will only give rise to a thousand more,” he said.
Saying that AltNews provides a “vital service”, senior Congress MP Shashi Tharoor termed Zubair’s arrest an “assault on truth”, and demanded his release.
“Arrest of Zubair is highly condemnable. He’s been arrested with no notice & in some unknown FIR. Total violation of due process. Delhi Police does nothing about anti-Muslim genocidal slogans but acts swiftly against “crime” of reporting hate speech and countering misinformation,” tweeted Asaduddin Owaisi MP, AIMIM chief.
“BJP hate facts. They dislike everything Zubair stands for. They live in a world of propaganda and lies,” said Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra
Here are some tweets expressing concerns over the arrest of the Muslim journalist.