Listen to this article:
New Delhi: A local court in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur on Thursday, July 7, sent Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to police custody from July 8 to July 14 in connection with his tweet where he called Hindu religious leaders, facing charges of hate speech, “hate mongers”.
Zubair is currently in judicial custody after the court sent him to 14-day judicial custody on July 5.
This comes on a day when Zubair moved the Supreme Court for quashing of first information report (FIR) registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the ‘hate monger’ case and claimed that he was receiving death threats to seek immediate bail.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Zubair, sought vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari to list the matter for urgent hearing. The matter is likely to be heard on Friday, July 8, “subject to clearance from Chief Justice”.
“This relates to Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of Alt News. His job is to fact check news, and he was doing the role of identifying hate speeches. A look at the FIR shows that there is no crime. We went to Allahabad HC, but no relief granted. Bail is sought on emergency. There are death threats on the internet. If possible list today at 2. I am really worried,” Gonsalves submitted, according to LiveLaw.
The same Sitapur court earlier on Wednesday, July 5, had sent him to 14-day judicial custody for referring to Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop as “hate mongers” in a tweet he posted in May.
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.
“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,” he had tweeted.
Zubair was first arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 for a 2018 tweet of a film still and has been in jail since. On July 2, police added additional charges under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to his name.