Thursday, June 20, 2024

Unending witch-hunt: New warrant against Zubair in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri

The Lakhimpur Kheri police in Uttar Pradesh obtained a warrant against AltNews co-founder and prominent Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair in a case registered last year on charges of promoting enmity between two groups.

This comes hours after the Supreme Court granted five days’ interim bail to Zubair in a case registered in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh for “hurting religious sentiments” through a tweet against hate-mongers who delivered genocidal speeches against Muslims.

On Friday, the Lakhimpur Kheri police moved a local court, obtained a warrant against Zubair, and served the warrant at Sitapur district jail, where Zubair is lodged. The Lakhimpur Kheri court has summoned Zubair to appear before it on 11 July.

September last year, a Hindu nationalist named Ashish Kumar Katiyar filed a case accusing Zubair of “circulating false news on Twitter in order to disturb communal harmony.” The case was lodged against Zubair under Section 153-A (promoting enmity between two groups) of the Indian Penal Code.

Zubair, one of the prominent Muslim journalists in India and a vocal critic of Narendra Modi’s government, was arrested on 25 June and is in judicial custody on charges of hurting religious sentiments for a tweet that he had posted in March 2018. The charges of violating foreign funding norms along with criminal conspiracy and causing the disappearance of evidence were added in the case against Zubair on July 2.

Many including United Nations, international press bodies, opposition leaders across India, 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.

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.


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