An edge of tangled wires instigates a human to untangle it. The same is happening in India. People are hell-bent on probing all the historical allegations and accusations relating to Mohammad Zubair. This came after his arrest for hurting religious sentiments.
What is the case about?
Recently, Mohammad Zubair, the co-founder of Alt news, so called fact-checking website, was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27. He was arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. This came after a Twitter account made an official complaint tagging the Delhi Police to arrest him in relation to a tweet posted by him in 2018.
He was arrested under Section 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and Section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
The anonymous Twitter handle with the user name “Hanuman Bhakt” had posted a tweet on June 19 saying that Zubair should be arrested for insulting a god and hurting religious sentiments.
Following the development in the case, Mr. Zubair’s counsel Vrinda Grover raised doubts about the account and suspected how the police “magically picked up” this particular tweet from the account. Interestingly, the police came in contact with a four-year-old tweet resulting in the arrest of Mohammad Zubair.
While throwing some light on his 2018 tweet, it was found that he posted an image from a Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) approved 1983 Hindi film “Kissi Se Na Kehna”. The poster further showed a hotel’s name being changed from “Honeymoon Hotel” to “Hanuman Hotel”. Mohammad Zubair posted the image by saying, “Before 2014: Honeymoon Hotel; After 2014: Hanuman Hotel.” the police found that the image has been apparently edited. However, in light of this, Vrinda Grover responded that the image is not at all manipulated and has been taken from the film.
The Twitter account that demanded Zubair’s arrest was founded no longer exists on the platform. A senior police officer investigating the matter said, “We have come to know that the person deleted his account. However, that doesn’t affect our investigation. We are investigating the matter as Zubair’s old tweet was amplified and created disharmony. We are trying to trace the man and will ask him about the complaint. He may have deleted the account because he got scared.”
Twist in the story
The anonymous Twitter user’s complaint against Mohammad Zubair was followed by the Delhi Police arresting him. But an interesting development came when dozens of Zubair’s tweets got deleted while he was in the custody.
Around 100 tweets got deleted from the account of the Alt news co-founder, between June 27 to 29. Among these, 88 of the 100 tweets went missing on June 28. An interesting point to note is that all this happened when Zubair was under Police custody.
Taking this into consideration, the Delhi Police claimed that Zubair has deleted all electronic evidence and presented a blank phone in the investigation. While looking at the other side of the fence, it is practically not possible as Zubair was not in access to any digital device while in Police custody. Thus, it is unclear how the tweets got deleted when Zubair didn’t do it. Who is operating his account while he is not in access to it? This propels the need to fact-check all the points in the case.
All the allegations surrounding Mohammad Zubair have just added another page in the current making of a historical book. It is jotting down all the recent chronicles of hurting religious sentiments which are mortifying Indian culture. On the other hand, it’s significant to note that Mohammad Zubair is not under the ambit of allegations for the first time.
In early June, an FIR was registered against Mohammad Zubair for hurting religious sentiments by addressing the Mahant Bajrang Muni Udasin, Yati Narsinghanand, and Swami Anand Swarup as “hatemongers” on Twitter. The FIR read, “This complaint is with regard to hurting our religious sentiments by using derogatory words against mahants of our dharamsthal, which is a symbol of our faith. On May 27, I saw on Twitter that Mohammad Zubair had used derogatory words like ‘hatemongers’ against Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena national custodian Bajrang Muni. Zubair had also disrespected Hindu Yati Narsinghanand and Swami Anand Swarup.”
In August 2020, another case included Mohammad Zubair. Under it, the Delhi Police charged Zubair in a POCSO case due to the complaint filed by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo. The NCPCR complaint was in reference to a tweet shared by Zubair on August 6, 2020, which included a photo of a minor girl, with her blurred face, during an online quarrel he was having with her father.
The history of Mohammad Zubair under controversy is continuing and its end is very soon. His recent tweet about hurting religious sentiments is just another example of his tainted legacy.
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