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New Delhi: Alt News‘ co-founder Mohammed Zubair has been named in a first information report (FIR) registered at a police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Khairabad after he called Yati Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop “hatemongers” in a tweet.
Based on the complaint of one Bhagwan Sharan, who identifies himself as the district head of Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena, the police booked Zubair under Section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of Information Technology Act.
On May 27, Zubair, in a series of tweets, slammed prime time debates on Indian news television channels, which he said, “have become a platform to encourage hate mongers to speak ill about other religions” in connection with the ongoing controversy into the Gyanvapi mosque.
Sharing a video clip of a debate on the Times Now channel, on ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ moderated by its anchor Navika Kumar, Zubair tweeted:
Well done @vineetjaintimes! Why do we need Hate Mongers like Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati or Mahant Bajrang Muni or Anand Swaroop to arrange a Dharam Sansad to speak against a community and a Religion when we already have Anchors who can do much better job from News Studios.
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) May 27, 2022
Referring to the particular tweet, the complainant said his religious sentiments were hurt by Zubair’s tweet, which referred to his “Honourable Mahant Bajarang Muni as hatemonger”. He further went on to say that Zubair was inciting Muslims to “murder” Hindu leaders.
Yati Narsinghanand Giri (formerly Saraswati), militant Hindutva leader and mahamandaleshwar at the Juna Akhara, has had a long history of hate speech and calls to violence, with the most notable being his involvement in mobilisation prior to the Delhi riots of 2020, as investigated by The Wire. He has been part of a network of right-wing affiliated individuals involved in hate crimes and anti-Muslim hate speech, as well as BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra and Ashwini Upadhyay (the latter was also present at the Haridwar Dharma Sansad). He is currently out on bail.
On April 2, Mahant Bajrang Muni, priest of the Badi Sangat Ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district, threatened mass sexual violence against Muslim women in the presence of the police on the occasion of the Hindu new year.